Madison, WI – By this time of year, most people in Wisconsin have already starting checking items off their winter-readiness checklist: snow shovel, new coats/gloves/boots for the family, winter driving emergency kit. But they often overlook getting their home ready for winter’s first big blast.
It is easy to improve the comfort of your home during the long winter months while also saving money on your energy bills for years to come. All you have to do is take advantage of the financial incentives and technical support offered through FOCUS ON ENERGY®, Wisconsin’s statewide energy-efficiency program funded by your utility provider.
Here are Focus on Energy’s Top 5 tips to save you money and keep your home cozy this winter:
1. Get a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Assessment
You and your family go to the doctor for regular check-ups. Well, consider this an overdue physical for your home.
One of our Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractors examines your home, testing to see where warm air is getting out and cold air getting in. Proper air sealing and insulation are among the most basic and important steps towards year-round comfort and lower energy bills. The Trade Ally also performs a combustion safety check to ensure proper ventilation for added health and safety.
Home energy assessments end with a customized report that includes recommendations unique to your home. The recommendations are incentivized by the Focus on Energy Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, and incentives for eligible home improvements are worth up to $2,250. You can get started at focusonenergy.com/wholehome or by calling 800-762-7077.
2. Install Low-E Storm Windows
A low-cost alternative to full window replacement, Low-E Storm Windows were added to the Focus on Energy list of offerings this fall.
Low-E Storm Windows create a tight seal and a layer of insulating airspace over existing windows, which keeps your home warmer during the long Wisconsin winter and keeps your furnace running less. These storm windows also keep heat out during the summer, leading to a 12-33% annual decrease on heating and cooling bills. Those are similar energy savings to ENERGY STAR certified replacement windows at nearly half the cost.
The windows can go on the inside or outside of your existing window, and you can install them yourself.
Focus on Energy incentives for Low-E Storm Windows are available at the time of purchase at participating retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menard’s locations in Wisconsin (Home Depot locations in Hudson and Onalaska excluded). Learn more at focusonenergy.com/low-estorms.
3. Get a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats are a low-effort way to improve energy efficiency. These thermostats learn your schedule so they know when to turn down the heat on days you might forget. They also know, based on your daily routine, when to turn the heat back on again.
A smart thermostat saves you up to $120 a year and a $75 Smart Thermostat Incentive from Focus on Energy helps with the up-front cost. Learn more at focusonenergy.com/smart.
4. Check or replace your furnace/boiler
The engines that heat your home or business need regular maintenance, and Focus on Energy offers incentives to make that maintenance more affordable.
Heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of the average home’s energy usage. Replacing your furnace filter should be part of your maintenance plan, but it might be time for an upgrade if your furnace is unreliable, inefficient or over 15 years old.
Learn more about the incentives available and furnaces that qualify at focusonenergy.com/heatingandcooling, and find a qualified Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractor at focusonenergy.com/findatradeally.
5. Get a free Simple Energy Efficiency Pack
With the daylight hours shoter, we all leave our indoor lights on longer. That makes energy-efficient LED light bulbs an even better bargain in the winter months.
Focus on Energy offers free packs of energy-saving products, including LED bulbs, to customers of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that fund and participate in the program.
The packs are delivered to your home and also include options like high-efficiency showerheads, water-saving faucet aerators, pipe insulation, and advanced power strips for home entertainment centers and office areas.
You can look at the six types of energy-efficiency packs available by visiting focusonenergy.com/simple. Products can also be ordered by calling 800-230-4701.
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit www.focusonenergy.com