GIMME SHELTER- Energy: Start saving it now!

this Week's expert:


Q: We're not quite ready to spend the money to overall our home to make it more energy efficient, but we'd like to get started. What are some no cost or low cost ways to be more energy efficient?

A: As a homeowner, you have the most control over improving the energy performance of your home. Rather than tackling household energy issues with a single major overhaul, it is useful to prioritize a list of changes that can incrementally be made to improve the energy performance and lessen the financial burden of your home over the long run.

Here are 10 things you can do right away to start saving energy:


• Turn down water heater thermostat to 120 F or the lowest setting.

• Turn down thermostat when you go to bed and when you're away from the house. Better yet, install an Energy Star programmable thermostat and get up to $100 rebate from Charlottesville Gas!

• Install water-saving shower head and faucet heads. Free kits available at City Hall.

• Close heating vents and turn off lights in unused rooms.

• Let the sun help heat your home during the winter! Open your drapes or blinds on the south side of your house to let in sunlight.


• Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, especially for your five most used bulbs. 

• Find and seal the biggest air leaks in your attic and basement, and around windows and doors. Or download Energy Star's do-it-yourself guide to home sealing.

• Change the air filter in your furnace at least once during the winter.

• Install an insulating wrap for your water heater and insulate the first 3-4 feet of hot water pipe leaving your water heater.

• Install storm windows in the winter, or purchase a shrink film insulation kit from your local hardware store.