Saving money by saving energy

Joan Reid, Extension Agent, Family & Consumer Sciences, Granville County
Dec. 29, 2013 @ 09:28 AM

This is the time of year when we remember how drafty our house is and vow to correct it. By conducting a do-it-yourself home energy assessment, you can identify areas in your home where you are losing energy and wasting money. Using the Home Energy Assessment Checklist will help you pinpoint the energy efficiency improvements you need to make. You can access it at

Areas of your house to assess and correct are:

• Air leaks: Three methods are given in the checklist for testing for air leaks. Caulking and weather stripping will take care of most leaks.

• Insulation: Check to make sure you have proper insulation. In addition, you can insulate heating ducts in unheated spaces (attics/crawlspaces).

• Window insulation: During winter, open curtains on south-facing windows during the day and close them at night. In the summer months, close draperies to keep heat out.

• Heating/AC system: Have an annual maintenance check performed on your HVAC system and clean or replace filters regularly. Failure to clean or replace filters places a strain on the HVAC unit.

• Equipment and appliances: Unplug appliances when not in use.

• Lighting: Use CFLs and LEDs for more efficient lighting.

• Fireplace: Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Use a chimney balloon to help air seal the fireplace when not in use.

• Drop-down attic staircase: Much loss can occur here, so insulate the door.

• Water conservation: Use low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Replace older toilets with water efficient toilets.

• Refrigerator and freezer

For more conservation ideas, check out the following sources of energy conservation information:

Source: Home Energy Assessment Checklist, N.C. Cooperative Extension


As many of you know, I will be retired from N.C. Cooperative Extension on Jan. 1. I have been privileged to serve the residents of Granville County for almost 10 years after very

similar work for 15 years for Ohio State University Extension. It has been rewarding work to help adults and children learn ways to improve their health, get more out of their money, learn

how to preserve, produce, discover more about themselves and others for better communication and more.

To be sure, I will miss working with the wonderful staff in the Granville County Extension Center, other extension staff and all of the great folks in Granville County. However, there are seasons in our lives. So, it is time to change seasons and discover new opportunities to work on my bucket list and find volunteer opportunities. I am wishing all of you well in the new year.