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Is your home ready for the cold weather?

Posted at 2:14 PM, Oct 09, 2018

It seems like summer now with record setting heat on Tuesday October 9th - but later this week, it will feel more like winter as temperatures will struggle to get out of the 40's.

The cold weather also means that furnaces will be firing up.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly spent the day talking with Ken Kazmierczak from Buffalo Energy, Inc. about ways to cut your heating/electric bills and how to prepare your home for cold weather.

Buffalo Energy works in partnership with HEAP, Home Performance with Energy Star and EmPower New York. 

Ken Kazmierczak said of the hundreds of homes his company works on each year, most either have no insulation or poor insulation.

While filling your walls with foam or cellulose requires a professional, there are things homeowners can do to decrease their utility bills:

-Turn your thermostat down at night ten (10) degrees.  This will save 5-10% on your heating bills.  Programmable and WiFi thermostats make that easy.

-Change you furnace filter.  Too often people forget this important step.  A dirty filter will force your furnace to work harder and longer to heat your home.  While it is recommended to change filters annually, Ken Kazmierczak said cheap filters should be changed every month (30 days).

-Switch to LED lights in your home.  LED bulbs only use 8.5 watts compared to a standard incandescent light bulb that burns 60 watts.

-Use plastic on your old or single pane windows.  If you can't afford new double-pane vinyl windows, putting plastic completely over the inside of your old windows can make a big difference with cold air leaks.

-Most importantly, said Kazmierczak, "air seal" you basement.  That includes insulating areas where the floor joists meet the foundation.  Use expanding foam to prevent cold air leaks from getting into the living areas (and attic) from gaps where pipes and wires go through the floor. As the heat in your home rises, it will suck cold air up from the basement.  Don't forget to use mastic or metal tape to seal gaps in your basement heater ducts so the cold air is not drawn in.

The same idea applies to stopping heat from leaking into your attic where it can cause damaging ice dams when we get snow.

More information about Buffalo Energy can be found here: https://www.google.com/search?q=buffalo+energy&oq=buffalo+ener&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j0j69i60j69i57j69i60l2.2631j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

You can find out what energy improvements need to be done to your home through a "free" program from NYSERDA  (New York State) where a licensed contractor, working in partnership with NYS, will conduct a home energy audit to detail problems.  You will be told what needs to be done and if there is assistance to help pay for the repairs.

On its website, NYSERDA said people who follow though on the recommended improvements from the audit can expect to save on average $670 in the first year.

More information about the NYSERDA home energy audit can be found here: https://stars.nyserdagreenny.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzajanfb53QIVk7bACh3z8A3CEAAYAiAAEgKMZfD_BwE

 

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