Simple tips to keep home energy costs down and the cold out

As temperatures fall, our energy costs usually rise.

But as forecasters call for temperatures to take a steep dive over the next few days, there are tips homeowners can follow to keep costs down and the cold out.

"You walk into most homes and the thermostat is right by the front door," said Jay Karwoski, from Consumers Energy. "And if you have cold air leaks into your home. That (cold air) leaking under your door is causing your thermostat to think there are different temperature conditions in your home than there really is."

Karwoski is an energy efficient expert and uses a specialized device to pinpoint trouble spots in a home.

"When you have a comprehensive audit done, you know what's causing you issues in each room of your home," he said. "And the contractor will prioritize work based upon the issues you are experiencing in your home."

In a basement..Karwoski says the fix to make the area energy efficient is simple.

"Some really easy things to do on the furnace is changing your furnace filter," Karwoski said. "Everybody hears about that but it really makes a big difference. When your filter is clogged, air has a harder time flowing through it. Your furnace is working harder to deliver you heat and that ultimately costs you more money." 

And don't forget the hot water pipe wrap.

"It prevents all the heat escaping off the hot water line before it makes it's way up to your shower in morning," he said.

Covering your windows prevents heat from escaping.

"There are window film protectants," Karwoski said. "They are super easy to apply. There is a two-sided tape that goes around the edge of your window. You put the plastic on that, smooth out all the wrinkles with a hair dryer and you almost don't even notice they are there."

If you think a fireplace is going to save you money on your heat bill, think again.

"It might be nice and toasty in the room you are in that has the fire place," Karwoski said. "But the rest of your home, once you go into the other areas, you are going to feel that it is significantly colder and it also causes your furnace to work harder." 

Karwoski says becoming energy efficient can save you a lot of cash this winter 

"Our bill even in harsh winter months is typically no higher than $100.