By Frank Lewis
October is Energy Awareness Month and the Daily Times took the opportunity to reach out to Columbia Gas of Ohio for tips to help customers save money. Shane Cartmill, external affairs specialist for Columbia Gas of Ohio, said one of the best places to start is the home energy audit. He said Portsmouth customers were pre-qualified for the audit at the price of $20 and from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2015, Columbia Gas will be offering the audits for free to qualified customers in Portsmouth.
Weatherization upgrades (air sealing and insulation) will cost $300 and the high efficiency furnace replacement rebate remains at $1,000.
Amy Garrett of CLEAResult said someone would come to the resident’s home and identify where they are losing energy.
“They’re going from attic to basement, side to side, looking for anywhere that there are inefficiencies using infrared photography to look inside the wall cavities and see what the insulation levels are. They’re using blower doors to look for air leaks throughout the home; doing combustion safety testing on all the gas appliances,” Garrett said. “They’ll put together a customer’s report for the customer and sit down with them afterwards and go over the report with them and let them know all of the things that they recommend to make their home more efficient and by making their home more efficient they’re going to save money on their utility bills and they’re going to have a more comfortable home as a result.”
“We want to help our customers conserve energy and save money. This is a great program specifically for our customers in Portsmouth,” Cartmill said. “Falling leaves, football and flannel shirts are a few things to remind you that fall is in full swing and winters on its way. Prep your home to save energy all winter with these tips.”
Cartmill said you should have your appliances and heating equipment inspected. Make sure all appliances and heating equipment, such as a furnace, water heater or stove, are operating properly. And, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you use them.
Change your furnace filter. A dirty filter makes your heating system work harder, which uses more energy. Simply replace your filter every few months or opt for a washable one –they can last up to five years. And don’t forget: changing your filters can cut down on dust around the house.
Another important thing to do is to check your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke detectors.
Check your windows for gaps. If there is a gap between the siding and the window frame make sure to caulk the gap to prevent a draft. Even if there is no visible gap you should still install window insulation kits to cover entire windows with a material like shrink wrap. These kits are inexpensive and are an effective way to stop air leaks. You can purchase them at any local home improvement store.
Turn off exterior faucets and disconnect garden hoses. You can turn off the faucet with the shut-off valve in your home. This will help prevent frozen pipes from bursting during the cold months.
Before you use your fireplace for extra heat, make sure to get your chimney cleaned. A clean chimney will prevent a chimney fire or CO from building up in your home. And he said to make sure to call a certified chimney sweep.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.