Massachusetts Real Estate

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Energy Saving Tips for the Winter Months

It is no secret that energy prices have been high all year but thankfully have dropped quite a bit as we head into the Winter months. There are of course plenty of things you can do to save additional $$$ and conserve energy this Winter. Some are fairly obvious and easy.                                                                                      

Here are some of the easiest energy saving tips for your home:                                                                                                                                                                                           

Turn back the thermostat - Kind of a no brainer but here is my suggestion...Upgrade to a programmable    Metrowest Mass Winter Home thermostat and set the temperature down during the time when you are not home. For me it is easy because I am at work selling Real Estate all day.

The temperature in my home automatically goes down to 60 degrees at 11 p.m at night and stays that way until 5 p.m the next day when I get home. So between 5 p.m and 11 p.m when I am usually around the temperature moves up to a comfortable 70 degrees.

As an additional thought if you have a multi zone system I would also suggest that you may want to keep the area of your home where you sleep a little bit warmer than the rest of the home. For example if you have forced hot air and your bedrooms are on the 2nd floor there is no sense in keeping the downstairs the same temperature as the bedroom area. Have your thermostat set to go down at night on the 1st floor.

Close the fireplace damper - This is one that I often forget about. There is quite a bit of heat that can get lost going up and out the chimney.

Give your heating system a tune up - Proper maintenance is vital to keeping your heating system running most efficiently. Make sure that you have your heating system cleaned and inspected at least once a year, especially if you are using oil as a fuel source. During the heating season make sure that the filters are changed once a month.

Fill the gaps with weather stripping and caulking - make sure all your doors and windows are tight. Just the other day I noticed a draft coming from the interior door leading to the garage. I had not noticed that the weather stripping was missing. You can pick up an item like this at Home Depot or Lowe's for under ten dollars. If you have a home with older windows make sure you caulk and gaps. Using the locks also provides for a tighter and less draft resistant fix.

Window air conditioners - If you home is not cooled by central air and you are using a window air conditioner make sure that all the gaps between the window and exterior have been filled. This is a notorious problem for air penetration.

Add additional insulation to the home - Add additional insulation to your attic, basement and outside walls. This can be done either with insulation batts or with blown in cellulose.

Keep furniture away from vents - If you have furniture blocking your vents you will drastically cut the efficiency of the heating system. In one of the rooms in my home I happen to have long draperies. This can be a problem as well if they are not tied back. Keeping your drapes away from blocking the vents is an important consideration.

Keep the vents clean - Make sure you keep your baseboard, radiators and registers dust and dirt free. This will not only have a drag on efficiency but who wants to breath crummy air. If you have a forced hot air system over the years it is easy to accumulate dust and debris. If you live in the Metrowest Massachusetts area and need a duct cleaning I would recommend Duct Z. They are a national outfit and may be located near you as well.

Seal your duct work - If you have FHA (forced hot air) make sure the ducts are properly sealed. Over time the tape used to seal openings and joints can start to open or even fall off.

Unplug appliances not in use - Guys I know this one is difficult but if money is real tight I would suggest unplugging the beer fridge in the basement or garage. Having an extra refrigerator is a big drain on energy consumption. Things like extra televisions and other household appliances that do not get use often should also get unplugged. These appliances although are not being used still drain energy and cost you money. The term often used to describe this is "leaking energy". Look at the electrical meter on your house before and after doing this and see what I mean.

Clean the refrigerator coils - Once a year you should vacuum or clean the fridge coils especially if you have a pet. Dirt, dust and pet hair on the coils will impede air flow and make the heat transfer less efficient forcing the appliance to work harder. It is estimated that dirty coils can cut the energy use by 6%. This would save around 15$ per year on an older fridge.

Turn off bath fans - After taking a shower make sure the bath fan does not stay on longer than necessary. This is an opportunity for heat to get sucked out of a home.

Turn down water heater temperature - In most homes the water temperature set on a water heater is between 130-145 degrees. Setting the temp back to 120 is more than enough for a hot shower. It is estimated that a 10 degree temperature reduction can reduce water heating costs by 5%. Lowering the temperature by 20 degrees could save the average family around 50$ per year.

Low flow shower heads - Install low flow shower heads to conserve heated water. Also keeping the time in the shower down also helps.

Wrap the water heater  - You can buy a water heater wrap at most hardware stores or Home Depot for around 25$. The blanket will pay for itself in a year and offer saving after that. According to the Department of Energy this will save the average household around 4-9% of their annual total water heating costs (around 12$-48$ for most homes.)

Purchase energy star products - Energy Star Products are much more efficient and designed to save energy. For example an Energy Star fridge uses about 20% less energy than a standard refrigerator. Over time the saving can add up.                                                                                                               

Open shades and curtains  - Opening shades and curtains on the South side of the home is something that will give you a little something extra on those sunny days with a solar effect. Remember to close them at night to help keep the heat inside.         

Interested in getting an Energy Star Audit on your home? Visit the Energy Star Audit website to get an evaluation done on your home. This could really help you save some $$$.

Here is a state by state Energy Star directory to find out if Home Performance with Energy Star is offered near you.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

The above information on energy saving tips for the Winter months was provided by Bill Gassett, the teamRE/MAX Executive Realty Hopkinton leader for the #4 RE/MAX Team in Massachusetts in 2007. Bill can be reached via email at billgassett@remaxexec.com or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 22+ Years. Bill's office is conveniently located in the center of Hopkinton MA at 77 Main Street.

I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise! 

For Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate and homes see Metrowest Mass Real Estate. Want to have MLS access to beat other buyers to your dream home? Sign up with no obligation at my MLS Property Finder Site.

I service the following towns in Metrowest Massachusetts: Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Grafton, Northbridge, Uxbridge, Franklin, Douglas, and Framingham MA.

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Comment balloon 67 commentsBill Gassett • December 19 2008 07:24AM

Comments

Bill, Thanks for the tips. Over the years I have learned many tips for conserving energy and am always learning something new.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 10 years ago

I was into energy saving when saving energy wasn't cool!  Great post...

Posted by Mark Watterson, Utah Real Estate almost 10 years ago

Bill, great tips !  One of our rental properties that had a huge gas bill so the timing of your post is great for us ! 

Posted by The Somers Team, Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate. (The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access) almost 10 years ago

Gita, Mark, Chris - Thanks for your comments. Hopefully these energy saving tips will help everyone who is on a budget put a few more dollars in their pocket.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill--These are all great ideas as the temperature dips lower and lower. Put on a sweatshirt to save money and energy. :)

Posted by Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro (Boardman Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill, this is such wise advice and I noticed you are allowing re-blogging on it. So rather than write it again..........

It is all the little things we do that add up to saving energy in these cold months.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 10 years ago

Bill - Thanks for the great energy savings tips.  In today's economy everyone should be interested in things they can do to save money.

Posted by Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Okay Bill -- I did EVERYTHING on the list -- Now I am exhausted!  (lol)  Stay warm and enjoy the holidiays.  Looks like we are all in for a big SNOW storm today!  Stay Warm.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 10 years ago

Teri - I find myself wearing warmer clothes around the house on weekends when I am around!

Missy - Yes anyone is more than welcome to reblog on this one:)

Jon - There is no doubt we are all looking to save a few bucks. Hopefully some of these tips are worthwhile for those who have not given it much thought.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Love how you posted this link right in the comments of Facebook!  I am just learning how to get around there and maybe one day I will be as fancy as you!  These are some great tips by the way!

Posted by Cristal Drake, Realtor - Fullerton Real Estate (Prudential California Realty) almost 10 years ago

Thanks for the reminders.  Every little bit helps save energy and keep heating costs low.

Posted by Ryan Shaughnessy, Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner (PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com) almost 10 years ago

Joan - Ok if you have done everything on the list it is time to get the Energy Star audit done to see how you stack up:)

Cristal it is very easy to send your blog posts to Facebook and other social networking sites. If you want to shoot me an email I will tell you how to do it.

Ryan - Your welcome. Glad to hear you found the energy saving tips useful.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill G - great tips, we can all try a little harder to save energy and too save ourselves money. Even here in greater Phoenix , we need to follow most of these

Posted by James Wexler (wexzilla.com) almost 10 years ago

Bill, honey, you forgot snuggling up with a Cowboy!

Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing almost 10 years ago

James - Your lucky to be living in Phoenix and not living with the cold New England Winters!

Susie - Giddy Yup. Should I add that one the list?:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill - Good list of tips.  I have my heat at 68 and go around bundled up in heavy sweaters and fuzzy slippers.  Wishing for an early spring.  If we have to have global warming couldn't we at least be warm.  Just kidding. :)

Posted by Pam Dent, REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse (Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Pam I am not a big fan of Winter myself. I will take a lounge chair and a beach any day:) Stay warm!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill, I'm trying to be more aware this year but these are great suggestions, some of which I didn't know. Thanks for the post--it will help us all save some money this year.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) almost 10 years ago

Some very good suggestions Bill. I need to go thru my home office and unplug anything that is not used at least weekly !

Posted by Eileen Begley, Monterey Real Estate (Coldwell Banker, DelMonte) almost 10 years ago

Bill,

Although I live in a place that rarely sees anything close to winter.....I still do some of the things you mention on your list. We turn our pool filter down to run less time during the day as it uses lots of electric. Also don't have to run the A/C as much. Basically my electric bill is almost cut in half. I guess for many it would be the opposite.

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Eileen - It is amazing the amount of money you can save over the course of the year by unplugging those things that we do not use that often. Unplug them and look at your electrical meter before and after. You will be surprised.

Neal - In Florida you have a few less things to worry about and probably a few different things as well like the pool and A/C. You lucky dog!!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Carole - Your welcome. There are a few on the list that most people forget about.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill this is an awesome list, putting these suggestion into practice will certainly net some savings.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 10 years ago

Jennifer - Thanks for the compliments on my list of energy saving tips.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill, wow...some great ideas and tips for saving energy. We actually turn our thermostat off at night. ;-) Course it's only gotten down to about 35-45 outside at night. ;-)

PepperWreath

Posted by Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor, AzLadyInRed (Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC) almost 10 years ago

Hi Bill - what a great list of tips for homeowners.  There are a few in there that I hadn't given much thought to, but will now.  I'm already doing many of these, but always room for improvement!

Ann

Posted by Ann Cummings, Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent (RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine) almost 10 years ago

Bill - great list for sure. I too wear more layers inside when it's cold and then I have our cat who has decided that the best place to nap is on my lap :) nice and warm ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Hi Bill,

You've really packed a lot of good info into this one. I can't begin to imagine what folks must pay for their heating bills. And I hear there is a big storm heading your way right now. It makes me cold just seeing it on TV. Good luck.

Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) almost 10 years ago

Bill,

Thank you for this list of money-saving tips. With your permission, I am going to re-blog for people here in North Carolina.

Posted by Linda DeRusha, Broker/Realtor, ABR,ASP,CDPE (Coldwell Banker Advantage) almost 10 years ago

Teri, Ann, Rita, Lynda & Linda - Thanks for the compliments on my list of energy saving tips. If you have never gone to the Energy Star site it is worth a look especially if you are thinking about doing an energy audit on your home.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Hey Sweetpea, Hope you're staying warm and still have power.  How much snow have you gotten so far???

Posted by Shannon Lefevre, Shannon Lefevre, PA Your Naples Smart Girl (John R. Wood Properties) almost 10 years ago

It is a good idea to try to implement all your ideas! Where I live it is a little difficult to motivate people because of cost savings... you see we own our own hydroelectric dams and as a result our rate is $0.021 per kw hr. We are currently going through zero to +10 temps and my bill (on a 2200 sq ft ALL electric home) is about $25.00 per mo.  BUT, cost aside (and bragging be darned) conservation for what ever reason is usually a good thing!

Posted by J Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR, VAMRES (Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA) almost 10 years ago

Bill,

I often forget about the fireplace damper too and my daughter tends to keep her throw rug over the vent in her room, which drives me batty:-)  This is a nice list, I have never heard of low flow shower heads.

Posted by Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant (Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision) almost 10 years ago

All great tips! Thank you.

Posted by Tony Orefice, Realtor/Harrisburg NC,Concord NC (Wilkinson ERA/www.TonyORealtor.com) almost 10 years ago

Shannon - We have got about a foot so far...yuck:)

Perrin - Sounds like you are saving yourself an enourmous amount of money. Good job!

Rebecca - The fireplace damper is open right now...I just can't seem to remember to close the darn thing.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Everything that pertains to my area should be easy but those long hot showers in the morning will be hard to cut back on ;)

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) almost 10 years ago

Good tips Bill. We can apply some of them in my neck of the woods.

Posted by Cameron Wilson, The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee Californ (Labrum Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Renee - I love a hot shower myself! I think this would be last of my list of things I want to cut back on.

Cameron - Thanks for the comps on my list of energy saving tips.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

It is amazing just how much money these simple 'tips' can save. With four girls in the home, I need to constantly remind them to not waste. This is a great list!

BTW...I accept my scolding!! I'll do better next time. :-) ~GBU~

Posted by Elizabeth Nieves, Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team (The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group) almost 10 years ago

Thanks Elizabeth. Kids are probably the worst offenders when it comes to long showers.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill,

Id like to just take a minute and say a few things!

1. Your posts are amazing! Anytime I take the time to review your information I learn things (techy things!) that assist me online and elsewhere.

2. I am greatful that you have turned me on to this site! Thank you very much.

3. Id love to get together with you sometime and learn MORE about your amazing technology savy.

Lastly Id like to say I wish you and yours a VERY HAPPY, HEALTHY and PROSPEROUS HOLIDAY AND NEW YEAR!

Sincerely,

Ann Marie Belair

Re/Max Associates

Sterling, MA

Posted by AnnMarie Belair, Sterling Realty Belair, INC (Real Estate Worcester County MA) almost 10 years ago

hey Bill, this is a great list for homeowners in your area, but it seems you forgot to mention the top tip for lowering heating bills this winter---move south to Auburn, AL ;-)  Happy Heated Holidays!

Posted by Mara Hawks, Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL (First Realty Auburn ) almost 10 years ago

Great tips as the wind is howling outside - and we're hunkering down in preparing for a blizzard........i'm looking for candles and a flashlight....hmmm i should be more prepared!

Posted by Liz Moras Migic, Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor almost 10 years ago

Hi Bill...You Outlined some great energy saving tips for everyone. Love Your House!

Cheers, thanks for Sharing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Ann Marie, Mara, Liz & Fred - thanks for all your compliments on my list of energy saving tips. Merry Christmas!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill-Great tips, Do you have enough snow? Maybe your next blog can be on how we can get rid of all the snow we got this weekend! LOL

Posted by Joseph D. Federico, Eastern Massachusetts Real Estate (Donahue Real Estate Co.) almost 10 years ago

Bill,

Thanks for the energy saving tips - there are many on the list we can easily do to make a difference. It's 28 degrees here in Austin this morning and is very cold for us this time of year! Merry Christmas!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) almost 10 years ago

Joe - I don't mind the snow at Christmas time but after that I want it out of here and Spring to arrive!

Dorie - Wow that is quite unusual for Texas! Hope the energy tips help and stay warm:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

This is great info for a Localism post no matter what part of the country...well, except for Hawaii!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Russell - Thanks Hawaii sounds real good right about now after getting over a foot of snow here in Mass!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill, this is a very extensive list, thanks for the great information.  Scott and I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season with all of the joy and love that it brings.

Posted by Patty Carroll almost 10 years ago

Great tips! I love when people save energy! you can also call out Pro Energy Consultants otherwise know as the Energy Doctors. We can find out exactly where your home is losing energy. Cheers....

 

Scott

Posted by Energy Doctors (Energy Doctors) almost 10 years ago

Scott your company sounds excellent. Thanks for making me aware of Energy Doctors.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill these are smart tips to make home ownership a pleasure.  Maximize your energy efficiency and comfort at the same time.!

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) almost 10 years ago

Jim - Thanks for commenting on the energy saving tips for a home. Nothing like saving a few bucks.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill thanks for the cost and energy saving ideas in your post it will serve as yet another useful resource for homeowners. Cheers!

Posted by Teresa Berry almost 10 years ago

Fantastic tips and yeah, we can re-blog!

Posted by Jason & Amber Gardner, We're Committed to Your Success! (Hasson Company, Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Teresa & Amber - Thanks for the compliments on my energy saving article.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill - Great tips and advice for those who need to stay warm... Me, I had to turn the A/C on again yesterday as it reached almost 80 degrees. :-)

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) almost 10 years ago

Debbie you are lucky to be living in sunny Florida. I am envious!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Bill,

I think we get spoiled here in So. Cal. about not paying attention to these types of things, but even here, I realize we lose heat through single pane windows, open fire place dampers and such.  This is a nice list of things people can do to conserve energy and save money.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and I wish you a Happy and Propserous New Year.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 10 years ago

Christine - thanks for the compliments on my list of energy saving tips. I realize some of these tips may have more meaning in some parts of the county than others:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

You could also try to harness the unlimited power of the wind and the sun.

www.bestenergysavingideas.com

 

Posted by Sarah Onyx almost 10 years ago
Thniikng like that is really impressive
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Posted by fylrkyyfp over 6 years ago

Hi Bill, very good and informative energy saving tips.  Just as applicable today, as when you originally posted. 

Posted by Michael Dagner, Your Denver Homes Realty Expert (Brokers Guild Classic) about 3 years ago

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