Get back to saving – four low-cost ways to weatherize your home

It’s back-to-school season! While you’re stocking up on paper, markers and pencils why not grab a couple of items to improve the efficiency of your home? No need to bargain hunt – we’ve rounded up DIY home improvements that won’t break the bank. Insulate your home and your wallet with these four low cost weatherization projects.

 

Insulate your attic doors

When it comes to energy loss, attic doors are the worst. Even a teensy, tiny gap (we’re talking like 1/32-inch) leaks as much energy as a five square inch opening. Filling this little gap can make a big difference on your energy bill and doesn’t cost much—weather stripping and spray-foam insulation can be purchased for under $10, and an attic door cover runs around $50. Not only is attic door insulation easy to install, it is super affordable and long-lasting. See how you can save money on your next purchase of big gap filler with instant discounts from PSO.

 

Seal your outlets and switches

Want to hear an interesting fact? Up to 5% of air infiltration comes from outlets on outside walls. Okay, knowing this may not win you points at Trivia Night, but it can save you money. Sealing switches and outlets on exterior walls with foam electrical outlet insulation prevents unwanted drafts and heat loss, and is a super easy DIY fix. Simply remove your switch or outlet cover and add the foam pad before reinstalling the cover. At around 10 cents per unit, this is a weatherization project that can fit into your back-to-school budget.

 

Don’t forget door sweeps

Leaving a 1/8-inch gap on your front and back doors lets in as much air as leaving a small window open halfway. Attaching doors sweeps on all exterior doors is a low-cost way to improve the efficiency of your home and only it takes a few minutes. Test your door by closing it on a sheet of paper to see if it comes out easily without tearing. If it does, you need a door sweep, which range from $10 to $60 depending on the type. Even better? PSO offers instant discounts on select door sweeps and door seals at participating retailers.

 

Close your flue

So your fireplace may not be top of mind in triple-digit heat. But if you have a wood-burning fireplace, you may be getting burned by air lost up the chimney. Keep your flue cover closed whenever you aren’t using it, which should be 97.5% of the time—and 100% of the time during the summer. It doesn’t get any more simple and low-cost than this —just close the flue for a grand total of $0.00.

 

What’s cheaper than free? Answer: nothing! If you’re a homeowner or renter with a household income of $50,000 or less, you may qualify for free home weatherization upgrades from us. Yep, free attic insulation, air and duct sealing, the works. Learn more and see if you qualify.

Four HOT ways to save energy and stay COOL this summer

School’s almost out, which means your family may be spending more time at home for the next few months.  Some increase in energy use during the summer is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to skyrocket. Here are four hot tips for keeping cool this summer:

  1. Install a programmable thermostat to save on cooling costs

Looking for ways to save on your energy bill? Now’s a great time to make the switch to a programmable thermostat, which you can set to a schedule so that you don’t have to adjust it throughout the day. Once it’s installed, explain to your family the importance of energy efficiency and the goals that come with switching to a programmable thermostat. Sign up for PSO’s Power Hours program and you could save up to 30% on your bill during the summer months and get a FREE programmable thermostat when you enroll.

  1. Enjoy the outdoors

Enjoy the warmer weather, and all the savings that come with it when you spend some quality time outdoors.  Take the opportunity to bond with family and friends over yard games, cook-outs, or trips to the park for picnics! Before you head out, make sure you’ve turned off the lights, unplugged any unused electronics or appliances, and adjusted your thermostat to reap the most savings.

  1. Turn off unused lights until its second nature

Lights left on when not needed can waste an enormous amount of energy, especially if they’re traditional incandescent bulbs. Switch to LED bulbs to save energy even when the lights are on, and then lead by example—if you turn off the lights every time you leave the room, your family will have an easier time doing it themselves. Interested in making the switch to LED light bulbs? PSO offers instant savings on select LED light bulbs at participating retailers.

  1. Talk to your children about energy efficiency

This might seem obvious, but at the end of the day, the best thing you can do to save energy when the kids are home is talk to them directly about it. But how do you keep their attention about something like saving energy when the pool is calling? With games, of course! Energy Kids is an initiative from the U.S. Energy Information Administration devoted to teaching children about energy through riddles, puzzles, quizzes and activity suggestions. They even have a mascot with an activity book you can download and print for free.

Sweep, Dust, Save—it’s time for spring cleaning!

The great American tradition of spring cleaning is about fresh starts, improved comfort, and better habits. We open our windows and doors to the warm weather, air out our homes, clean out our garages, shake out our rugs. It’s a liberating experience that leaves us all feeling good, like we’ve hit the reset button on our daily routine. But in the bustle of cleaning, it’s easy to let energy escape—leaving the fridge open for too long, for instance, or letting the AC run while doors and windows are open. To help reduce your energy usage, follow these five easy suggestions.

1. Set your thermostat…

As a general practice, setting a programmable thermostat to a higher setting when you’re not at home can help reduce your energy costs by approximately 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Before you get started on spring cleaning, consider the temperature outside. If the weather is nice and you anticipate coming in and out frequently, consider turning the air-conditioning off altogether for the day…

2. …And then open your windows.

After you’ve shut your thermostat off, open your windows and cool your home with the natural cross breeze.

3. Use your fans—ceiling and bathroom.

If it’s a little too warm for au naturel cooling with a breeze, you can still save energy with the help of ceiling and bathroom fans. Ceiling fan cooling will allow you to raise your thermostat by four degrees, which can help lower your energy bill without sacrificing comfort. Ditto for the bathroom fan, which will push out the heat and humidity and help maintain a comfortable airflow.

4. Bring in the sunlight.

Keep the artificial lights off; let your windows and skylights illuminate your home naturally during the day. When you turn the lights back on as the sun goes down, make sure you’re using energy-efficient LED bulbs. PSO offers instant rebates at participating retailers—just look for the ENERGY STAR® logo.

5. Cook outside.

After a day of energy-efficient cleaning, keep the savings and comfort going by preparing dinner al fresco. Skip the kitchen stove & oven and use an outdoor grill instead; this will both save energy and preserve your home’s comfort level.

Looking for more ways to save? Check out more energy-saving tips and tricks from PSO here.

Resolutioners rejoice! 8 quick tips to save energy around your home

2019 is upon us—and with it, a laundry list of life-improving resolutions. One change that’s easy to put into action? Saving energy around your home. With just a few changes you can reduce your carbon footprint and lower your monthly electric bill. Check out these 8 easy energy-saving tips*:

  1. Upgrade your thermostat. Programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive and could save you up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling! Also, you can rest easy knowing you’re not unnecessarily heating or cooling your house while no one is home.
  2. Welcome the sunlight. Rather than blast the heater with the blinds drawn, open the shades and let the sun naturally heat your home!
  3. Look for the ENERGY STAR®  label. Home appliances use more energy than many people realize, but ENERGY STAR certified products use 10-15 percent less electricity than standard models. Plus, you can get money back from PSO when you purchase a qualifying ENERGY STAR appliance.
  4. Make the switch to LEDs. Like your appliances, the wrong light bulbs could cost you. Replacing just five of your home’s most used lights with ENERGY STAR bulbs could save you up to $75 a year—and even more if you switch to LEDs. Another reason to make the switch? PSO offers instant discounts on select LED light bulbs at participating retailers.
  5. The power of power strips. Video game systems, TVs, computers… Your home is full of small electronics, and they consume energy even when they appear to be turned off. To fix this, simply plug your electronics into a power strip andturn the power strip off when they’re not in use. This small change could save as much as $100 a year!
  6. Don’t forget your water heater. Water heating accounts for 14-18 percent of your utility bill. Set the heater to no higher than 120 degrees, use low-flow showerheads, and make sure older heaters are insulated with a water heater jacket.
  7. Tune-up, not tune-out. You get an annual checkup, so shouldn’t your home? Annual maintenance of your heating-and-cooling system by a qualified technician will go a long way to making sure you’re not leaking energy—or cash.
  8. Get an energy audit. There’s more to your home’s energy consumption than just your heating and cooling systems. Invest in an energy audit tohelp locate and seal leaks across your home. Properly sealing your home can result in big savings—up to 30 percent of energy costs!

There you have it! Follow these simple suggestions and your home (and energy bill!) will be thanking you in no time. Is there an easier or more rewarding resolution? We didn’t think so.

From all of us at PSO, we hope your new year is full of happiness and success—and savings. *You can read the Department of Energy’s full list of energy-saving tips here

6 Kitchen Tips to Cook Up Savings

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving feasts, winter sweets, and holiday dinners. It is safe to say that your kitchen is about to get a workout! Check out these tips for getting the most out of your kitchen this holiday season.

An Open Secret

Avoid opening the oven door when in use. Doing so releases the oven’s hot air, making the oven work harder to replace the escaped heat. Resist the urge by keeping your oven window clean and installing an oven thermometer.

Big Results, Small Packages

While they’re small in size, your crockpot and microwave are the most energy-efficient appliances in your kitchen. Plus, they’re far less labor-intensive than bigger appliances. When possible, skip the stove and give the little guys a try.

Put a Lid on It

Cooking with a lid on your pots and pans can cut your energy usage by up to 66%. Plus, using a lid cooks food faster by trapping in excess heat.

Play it Cool

Putting food in the fridge? Chill. Let food cool before you put it in the refrigerator. Hot food temporarily raises the temperature inside the fridge, forcing it to use more energy to keep cool. So chill out before you stash those leftovers. And let your food do the same.

Find Your Match

Saving energy is a game of inches. Use pans that are the same size as your heating elements. The difference may seem small, but using a 6” pan on a 10” burner wastes at least 40% of the energy produced by the stove.

Bake Better

Try out glass and ceramic bakeware this holiday season. These types trap in heat and cook food faster, saving you time and energy.