Have some downtime around the holidays? This will be the time you should consider performing checks on your home to save on energy costs, you could save a lot and help cover the costs of those expensive holiday gifts you purchased through your credit card.

Most of the items on this checklist can easily be preformed by most homeowners. However, some should be performed by a professional. We have provided links to resources when necessary.

  • Check your furnace filter and replace if necessary.
  • Clean your furnace filter if you have a cleanable filter.
  • Vacuum any accumulated dust from furnace coils and fans.

    Programmable Thermostats: This accessory to your home heating and air conditioning system can save you big money. Click on image to play video. Programmable Thermostats: This accessory to your home heating and air conditioning system can save you big money. Click on image to play video.

  • Set or install a programmable thermostat and reduce your home heating by 10-15 degrees during the day and at night while sleeping. Save up to 10% a year in energy costs but you may want an extra blanket for your bed.
  • Turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees if you leave your house for extended periods of time.
  • Operate your ceiling fan in a clockwise direction to push the warm air toward the floor in the winter.
  • Save more energy by turning off ceiling fans when not in the room.
  • When replacing appliances such as furnaces look for those approved through ENERGY STAR.
  • Keep the area around your furnace free from obstructions for maximum efficiency.
  • Remove any obstructions around heat registers and air ducts.
  • Check your storm windows to ensure they are in their correct positions.
  • Replace your windows with ENERGY STAR rated windows if they are old. A list of window styles that meet these standards are listed here. A window representative with knowledge of energy savings can help you calculate the return on investment.
  • Remove window air conditioners and seal.
  • Use and close heavy drapes on the East, West, and North sides of the house. Open the drapes to collect heat during sunny days on the south side of the house.
  • Check for air leakage around your entry doors. Seal or replace with ENERGY STAR rated doors.
  • Practice zone heating by sealing off areas of the home that are seasonal or seldom used. Shut off the heat vents in these closed areas.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use.
  • Seal the seams on ductwork and add a layer of 6-inch insulation around the ductwork.
  • Check to make sure your attic has an insulating value of at least R49*. An energy savings specialist here can help you determine your level of insulation.
  • Look around home exterior wall entries and seal any areas around such locations as water spigots, utility cables or electrical wiring.
  • Clean gutters or install clog-free gutters to reduce the effects due to wood rotting, wall insulation water saturation, and ice damming. Get more advice on gutter protection systems.
  • Review your home for any drafts entering from below through a crawl space or basement. Insulate and seal where needed.
  • Be aware there is insulated siding available to reduce heat loss through exterior walls.
  • Insulate your water pipes on the hot water side.
  • Install a blanket around your water heater. Some newer energy efficient models may not require extra insulation as they may have it added internally. Check your manual for proper instructions or consult a professional.
* According to the ENERGY STAR site established by the federal government most of Ohio is in Zone 5 with the exception of the area along the Ohio River which is in Zone 4. Zone 5 attic insulation levels should be between R49 and R60.