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During Variable Weather, Manage your Home Energy Use

Here in Chicago, we saw temperatures reach 70 degrees last week. This Monday, it snowed. The change in weather is a reminder of our variable Midwestern weather. It’s also a good opportunity to take stock of your energy use at home.

We interviewed a few of our energy efficiency experts to get their advice on ways to manage your energy use and costs during this transitional weather.

iStock_000004376771Medium[1]Heating System

  • Have a certified heating system contractor check your furnace or other heating system to ensure that it is working efficiently.
  • Replace furnace filters once a month or as needed. Dirty filters will slow air flow and make your furnace work harder to keep your home warm.
  • Install a programmable thermostat so you can automatically adjust your usage.
  • While home during cold weather, keep the thermostat around 68°F to maintain the best balance between comfort and energy savings.

Humidity and Air Circulation

  • Moist air at a lower temperature feels warmer and more comfortable than dry air at a higher temperature. So, if you have humidifiers, make sure they are in proper working order. If you don’t have a humidifier, consider purchasing one. (A relative humidity of 30 percent to 50 percent is recommended when the temperature is 20°F or above.)
  • Use ceiling fans to mix the rising warm air with the lower, cool air.

Doors and Windows

  • Take advantage of warmth from the sun’s rays by opening the curtains on south-facing windows during the day. Close curtains at night to keep the warmth inside.
  • Reduce drafts around doors and windows with weather stripping, window insulator kits, or draft stoppers.

Other Tips

  • Be sure to close the fireplace damper when the fireplace is not in use. And if you don’t plan to use your fireplace anymore this spring, consider installing a chimney balloon.
  • Save those leftovers! A full fridge works more efficiently than an emptier one.

For more tips on managing your energy use, plus rebates and discounts on energy-saving projects and products, check out these energy saving resources.


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