The cost of keeping a home warm during the cold months can soar quickly regardless of size, and the variety of programs and product choices available to help offset these costs can be daunting. However, residents can get advice on the “Do’s and Don’ts” of winter home weatherization before the cold weather settles in through the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund’s Home Energy Solutions (HES) program and the rebates and incentives that go along with it, as part of the Energize Connecticut initiative.
“Right now through the HES program, Connecticut residents can receive a comprehensive energy assessment for a $75 fee for energy services that are valued at up to $750,” said Jamie Howland, First Vice Chairperson, Energy Efficiency Board. “I also want to remind all residents that there are rebates for those homeowners looking to upgrade or replace appliances, and there are still special rebates available through December 31st on furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and more for those that were affected by Hurricane Sandy.”
Howland added that over the years, hundreds of thousands of HES customers have achieved immediate savings off of their energy bills with a warmer and more-comfortable home.
Through the program, certified contractors will evaluate your entire home including heating and air conditioning systems, lighting, windows, duct work and appliances to help customers understand how their homes use energy. Contractors also test the safety and efficiency of boilers or furnaces as well as the levels of CO2, asbestos and mold.
With that in mind, below is a handy check list of the “Do’s and Don’ts” for residents who want to save during the approaching cold months.
DO: Consult with a contractor before the work is done
Simply put, HES contractors are there to walk you through the step-by-step process of a home energy assessment and let you know what areas need to be addressed. For instance, as a homeowner, you might think that you know where your home is leaking energy, but a contractor can better detect and fix air leakage through a blower-door test. Many homeowners don’t consider that air can be lost in places such as the cracks of a staircase or small holes in your wall outlets. Additionally, consulting a contractor is especially helpful when taking on larger weatherization projects such as HVAC and insulation upgrades or ENERGY STAR®-certified appliance replacements. The contractor will also make vendor recommendations based on the energy needs of your home.
DON’T: Procrastinate… Insulate!
Did you know that nearly half of your home’s heat is lost due to poorly insulated attics, ceilings and walls? With proper sealing and insulation, customers can reduce their heating and cooling costs by 20 percent annually. You can get motivated by imagining what you’ll do with the extra money. And now, customers who participate in the HES program can be eligible to receive 0 percent repayment options on insulation upgrades between $1,000 and $2,500. This offer is limited, however, and lasts until December 31, 2012.
DO: Consider rebates and incentives available for your budget and needs
Through the Energize Connecticut initiative, furnace rebates, ductless heat pump rebates, gas hot water rebates and lighting solution incentives provided by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund are some options that will help you offset the upfront cost of energy-efficient upgrades around your home, and that’s just a few of them. Educating yourself on what’s available to you for your home’s energy needs is the first step, and the HES contractor can discuss and leave you with this information after the home energy assessment.
DON’T: Go without giving your heating system a routine check-up
Just as you keep tabs on your air conditioning system during the cooling season, the same rule applies for the heating season. Keep your heating equipment well-tuned with periodic maintenance by a service professional. If your furnace is more than 10 years old, your contractor may recommend that you replace it with high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR label.
For more information on residential energy efficiency programs and ways to save, please call 1-877-WISE-USE or visit www.EnergizeCT.com.
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