Energize your New Year!

The arrival of a new year is an excellent opportunity to reset, recalibrate and reinvigorate your approach to many things in life. Save money and make your home safer by extending resolutions to your energy use and habits. Start with these tips and ideas …

Kick that old stuff to the curb

“Energy gobblers” such as baseboard heaters, space heaters, steam humidifiers, engine block heaters and stock tank heaters draw high amounts of electricity. Use them only when absolutely necessary and consider replacing older devices with more modern, efficient devices.

Be less demanding

Control your energy demand, which is how much power you use at one time. Avoid simultaneous use of multiple high-powered items – washing machines, dryers and ovens, for example – especially between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. This helps alleviate overall demand on the electric grid and reduces the frequency and duration of blackouts and other service interruptions.

Turn off the non-LED lights

You eventually will get around to taking down those holiday lights. When you do, take a moment to check whether they are LED. If they aren’t, consider replacing them with LED strings, which are safer, more durable and up to 90 percent more efficient. Don’t just toss your unwanted lights in the trash, though: Bring them to any of IREA’s four offices through Jan. 31 and we’ll recycle them. You can find more info on our recycling program here.

Catch more sun

Leave the curtains or other treatments open on your south-facing windows. Sunbeams will naturally heat your home. Close them at night to keep the cold from creeping in.

Batten down the hatches

Identify and seal any leaks throughout your home. Most can be found near pipe cut-throughs, dryer vents and other overlooked spaces between your home and the outside. A little caulk, weather-stripping or plastic film will retain heat and reduce cold air infiltration.

Get a check-up

Regular service on your heating system will keep it operating efficiently. Don’t forget to routinely change the furnace filter. A filter’s lifespan varies by manufacturer, but swapping it out regularly ensures air is efficiently passing through.

You oughtta schedule a free audit

If you follow these tips and ideas but your monthly bill still seems too high, schedule a free home energy audit. Our energy efficiency specialist will analyze your home’s energy patterns and provide you recommendations for gaining increased energy efficiency. Visit www.IREA.coop/energy-audits for more info or to schedule an audit.

Embrace new technology

“Smart” models of devices such as thermostats, lightbulbs and outlets help you easily optimize your energy use. Though more expensive than their traditional counterparts, smart devices can reduce your use and offset the higher price tags. Many can also be controlled remotely for increased safety and peace of mind.