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Winterize a home in 10 easy steps

SAN DIEGO — So far, it’s been an unusually mild winter in San Diego – there have been many days in the high 70s and 80s – but all good things must come to an end.

The average temperature for San Diego from January through March is 59 degrees with an average rainfall of more than two inches per month, so it really doesn’t seem like there are many beach days ahead.

Follow these 10 easy tips from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to help save energy and money during cooler weather.

1. Clean or replace furnace filters about once every three months. Getting the system cleaned and serviced by a qualified professional can boost efficiency and help save money.

2. Dial it down. On average, one might be able to save about $13 on winter energy bills by lowering the thermostat three to five degrees. Recommended settings are 68 degrees during the day and 55 degrees or lower at night. Keep heating sources, such as lamps, away from the thermostat for accurate readings.

3. Test the home for air-tightness. On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to the windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and anywhere else outside air can enter. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, there is a leak that may need caulking, sealing or weather stripping.

4. Caulking and weather stripping drafty doors and windows can save as much as five percent on heating costs during winter months. Plus, it helps keep out spiders, bugs and other uninvited guests. Another bonus: caulking before painting reduces the chance of edges peeling.

5. Keep heating vents, baseboard heaters and cold-air returns clear and dust-free. Clearing the dust helps the heating system work more efficiently and eliminates indoor pollutants that can increase the chance of catching a cold.

6. Insulate, insulate, insulate. At a minimum a ceiling should be insulated to R-30, walls to R-11 and floors to R-19. Check for settling or uneven distribution. Also look for dirty spots that indicate air leaks. Seal holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.

7. Holes in the roof or walls let warm air out as well as rain and cold air in. Don’t let a small leak turn into a costly repair – be proactive at the first sign of a leak.

8. Double-paned windows insulate as effectively as an inch of foam insulation and shade as well as tinted windows, yet they look clear.

9. Close window coverings at night to help keep heat indoors and open them during the day so the sunshine can warm the house.

10. Keep a damper on it. When the fireplace is not in use keep the flue damper tightly closed or warm air will escape.

Contact SDG&E if help is needed to pay one’s bill this winter. Avoid interrupted service and reconnection charges by calling (800) 411-7343 to make payment arrangements before the past-due notice expires.

For qualifying households, assistance programs and services such as energy bill discounts and free energy-saving home improvements are available.

For more energy-saving tips, including an interactive room-by-room guide, visit http://www.sdge.com/winter or call the Energy Information Center at (800) 644-6133.

 

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