Stay Warm this Florida Winter

January 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm Leave a comment

Staying warm in Florida is usually not a topic of conversation. But the temps have dropped below 50 in Tampa, Conch Republic residents are pulling out their winter flip-flops, and Panhandle residents are practicing the fine art of layering. A few recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection agency will help you stay warm, save money and conserve energy this winter.

Keep Air Filters Clean. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system monthly. Some filters only need to be changed every three months. Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it’s operating efficiently. Safety check-ups can identify problems early and prolong the life of your system.

Seal Your Home. Hidden gaps and cracks throughout a home can add as much airflow as an open window. The more heat that escapes, the more cold air enters, causing your system to work harder and use more energy. Sealing the ‘envelop’ (the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors) can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation. Pay special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.

Seal Air Ducts. Leaky air ducts can reduce your system’s overall efficiency by 20 percent. Sealing your ducts can save money on energy bills and help consistently heat every room.

Test Your Home. ENERGY STAR’s online tools help evaluate your home’s energy performance and provide solutions to increase comfort and energy efficiency. Have your utility bills handy for savings calculations.

Consult a Professional. Hire an experienced, licensed contractor for help with a heating and cooling overhaul.

Cash in on Special Offers. Check with your local utility or visit the rebate finder to find special deals on high efficiency heating equipment. Manufacturer rebates are usually offered in fall and early spring. Ask for ENERGY STAR qualified equipment. While you’re looking, check for rebates on other appliances, insulation, windows or doors you want to replace.

Shop Smart. If your heating equipment has not been properly maintained and is 15 years old or older, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Ask for ENERGY STAR rated equipment when buying warmth for your home.

The average Florida household uses 1,120 kilowatts hours (kWh) of electricity each month, with nearly half of that used for keeping our homes at a reasonably comfortable temperature. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment can save as much as 20 percent on annual energy costs. In addition to saving money and helping Floridians stay warm in winter, energy efficiency also conserves water and reduces waste.

Entry filed under: Energy Efficiency. Tags: , , , , .

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