NOVEC’s Energy-Saving Tricks and Treats for Halloween

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Provided by NOVEC

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative urges homeowners to treat their homes with money- and energy-saving tricks for Halloween before cold weather haunts a house with scary energy bills for months. “Let putting on a coat remind you to do the same for your home, but with insulation,” said Priscilla Knight, NOVEC senior communications specialist. “Now is the time to keep winter winds from penetrating like poltergeists through attics, chimneys, windows and walls.”

1.    Put batts in the belfry.

Insulate the attic floor — or belfry — with fiberglass batts, loose-fill, rigid-foam, or spray-foam insulation. Install an insulated cover over pull-down stairs. If used as living space, insulate an attic’s walls. Do not block soffit vents, wires, motors, or recessed lights. Ask an expert for the best insulation for your home.

2.    Caulk cracks.

Caulk masonry cracks in walls and between the house and concrete foundation. Seal around plumbing pipes, ducts, vents, chimneys, and anything that goes through floors, walls, ceilings, and roofs with caulk or insulating spray foam.

3.    Counter creepy, crawly air.

Carefully run a lighted candle or incense stick around window frames. If the flame flickers, bone-chilling air will creep into your house. Apply weather-stripping or caulk around frames.

4.    Hinder hair-raising heating from using half of household energy.

  • Set a programmable thermostat to 68 degrees on cold days and lower at night.
  • Have a licensed service technician check the system annually.
  • Replace or clean air filters regularly.
  • Insulate and seal air ducts that travel through unheated areas.
  • Install an add-on heat pump in a room above a garage or sunroom to increase comfort and trim heating costs as much as 40%.
  • Purchase a new heating system with 90-plus annual fuel-use efficiency.

5.    Put a stake in energy vampires.

Little beady red lights glowing in the dark on TVs, computers, and other electrical devices signify energy vampires sucking electricity from outlets. Put a “stake” into vampires to save about 10%. Plug electronics into advanced power strips: Turn off electronics, then turn off the strips. Unplug chargers after charging cellphones and other devices. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Standby Power Summary Table shows how much power devices pilfer.

6.    Cover ominous outlets.

Thwart cold air from invading through electrical outlets by placing insulating foam pads under the plates. Plug inserts into unused outlets.

7.    Don’t let home heat be GONE WITH THE WINDOW.

Heat travels through glass windows like ghosts. Close curtains, blinds, honeycomb shades, storm and triple-paned windows at night to trap heat indoors. Open them during the day to let in the sun.

8.    Make ghoulish air gone with gaskets.

Ghoulishly cold air can slither under exterior doors. Attach pliable gaskets on door bottoms.

9.    Halt hot water horror!

Next to heating and cooling, water heaters use the most home energy. Halt hot-water horror and scalding by lowering the thermostat from 140 to 120 degrees on an electric water heater and between warm and hot on a gas heater. When the water heater gives up the ghost, ask NOVEC for an energy-efficient replacement.

10.    Disguise water pipes.

Wrap hot-water pipes running through an unheated crawl space or garage in an insulation “disguise.”

11.    Light with LEDs.

Illuminate jack-o-lanterns with LED lights instead of dangerous wax candles. Replace incandescent holiday and everyday lightbulbs with LEDs. They use 90% less energy, last years, and are more fire safe. Turn lights off when leaving or going to bed.

12.    Fight fireplace phantoms.

Air drafts draw heated air up chimneys. When flames die, cold drafts seep down chimneys like phantoms. Stop drafts by closing the flue damper and glass doors when not using a wood-burning fireplace. Remember to reopen the damper before the next fire.

13.    Plant ‘boo-tiful’ trees.

Block bitter howling winds on dark, eerie nights by planting an evergreen-tree windbreak on the northwestern side of the house. Plant “boo-tiful” trees that lose their leaves around Halloween and let the sun’s rays pass through branches into the house.
For more energy-saving ideas for Halloween and all year long, go to novec.com/save.
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