Energy Awareness Month: A time to act to save energy, save money

Published 7:49 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October is Energy Awareness Month in Minnesota, as proclaimed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

It offers a timely reminder about opportunities for Minnesotans to lower their energy consumption and save on utility bills.

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Energy efficiency is something every Minnesotan can do by using less energy to get the same or better results.

For instance, replacing at least one traditional incandescent bulb with an LED (light-emitting diode) bulb makes a difference. LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and last about 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb.

The Minnesota Commerce Department offers these energy-saving tips for fall and winter:

•Get an energy audit. The first step to energy efficiency is getting an advanced home energy assessment to identify the best ways to save energy. Audits can be arranged through utilities, nonprofit energy groups and HVAC contractors.

•Set your thermostat low. Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable when you are home. Turn down the temperature about 10 degrees, either manually or via programmable thermostat, when you’re not at home and at night when you go to bed.

•Weather strip and caulk windows and doors to prevent cold outside air from entering your home.

•Seal air leaks around chimneys, vents, pipes and wires. Plugging air leaks is one of the most cost-effective ways to conserve energy and increase comfort.

•Close your fireplace damper when there is no fire, and install airtight doors to prevent warm air from escaping.

•Maintain your heating system. Have your furnace or boiler inspected annually to ensure maximum efficiency and safety. Clean or replace furnace filters regularly, as needed. Replace an old furnace with a new high-efficiency model.

•Turn down the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees. Not only will this save energy, it will reduce the risk of scalding.