In the Midwest and Northeast United States, homeowners are anticipating increased fuel oil costs this coming winter. Here in California, we don’t face their kind of extreme weather (in my freshman year at Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana, I woke up one morning in January to -25°F weather with the prospect of a one mile walk to a math class--it took me several months to thaw) but heating costs are still a significant part of our budgets, especially for low-income families. And electricity costs are still at an all-time high across the country and are expected to keep rising.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (www.aceee.org) recently came out with a list of energy saving measures to help us prepare for winter.
1. Seal air leaks in ceilings/attic floors, at baseboards and electric outlets in exterior walls, and around exterior windows and doors.
2. Seal leaky air ducts at joints, starting at the furnace air handler, and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements or attics.
3. Hire a professional to tune up existing heating equipment, including changing air filters.