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Snowy Winter Prediction Brings Energy Tips

By Potomac Local News October 12, 2012 7:30 am

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A power company is rebroadcasting a winter weather warning for our area: expect lots of snow this year.

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative warned customers this week the Farmers Almanac and AccuWeather have both predicted above-normal snowfall for the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions this winter. This prediction comes after unusually mild winter least winter season which brought the onset of an early spring.

So, with the weather predictions come tips about saving energy and keeping your house warm this winter.

“Air leakage in a typical house can account for 35 percent of its annual energy consumption. That’s a lot! Stop air leaks now before winter gets here. It’s uncomfortably cold to crawl around the attic and under a crawl space to install insulation when it’s below 40 degrees. Furthermore, caulking and weatherstripping need to be done when it’s above 40 degrees,” stated Bob Cornwell, in NOVEC’s Energy Services Department.

From washing windows to let in more sunlight to how not to let heat escape through the flue, Cornwell included his list of tips:

• Remove old, cracked caulk and apply new silicone or latex caulk with a caulking gun around windows and doors, and fireplace hearths. Spray expandable foam around pipes, wires, and vents that go outside.

• InstallR38-R60 insulation – either in rolls or loose – between attic joists. Install unfaced R19 insulation batting under the house floor, accessible in the crawl space. When you replace siding, install insulation board or wrap before attaching new siding.

• Insert foam rubber insulation pads under wall outlet and switch covers. Replace covers and push child-protection inserts into outlets to stop drafts.

• Wash windows to let the sun’s warmth help heat the house. Close window treatments at night to help keep warm air indoors.

• Apply weatherstripping around windows. As an extra wind barrier, cover windows with plastic available at hardware and home stores.

• Adhere weatherstripping around drafty exterior doors and attach insulating door sweeps to help block cold air from penetrating under the threshold.

• Keep garage doors closed most of the time if the garage is attached to the house.

• Set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower. Cornwell says, “Leave a heat pump thermostat at a constant setting, but if the home is unoccupied for four or more hours, set the thermostat back five degrees.”

• Replace heating-system filters monthly. A dirty filter restricts air flow and makes the system work harder.

• An open fireplace without glass doors draws heated indoor air up the flue. When the fireplace is not in use, close the damper and glass doors to prevent as much as 14 percent air leakage.