Winter is here, and we are all looking for ways to save energy and lower our heating bills. Now the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has launched a campaign to help all of us “Turn Down, Seal Off, and Save Up.”

One of the most effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home and reduce heating costs is to conduct an energy audit of your home. Homeowners can perform a simple energy audit themselves or they can hire a trained professional to do a more thorough evaluation.

A self-audit can detect easy-to-spot places that allow warm air to escape and cold air to enter your home like drafty windows and doors. Simple, inexpensive steps such as adding weather stripping to windows and doors and replacing old incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs will lead to immediate savings of both energy and money.

A professionally trained energy auditor will use sophisticated equipment to do a more thorough evaluation and search for less obvious sources of energy loss, such as insufficient insulation. Additional corrective measures include:

  • Upgrading your heating system;
  • Increasing attic insulation while being careful not to hinder adequate roof ventilation;
  • Replacing old appliances with more efficient Energy Star-rated units;
  • Installing storm windows and doors;
  • Installing a programmable thermostat; and
  • Replacing or insulating old water heaters.

The state has set up a one-stop-shot for information on improving home energy assistance and receiving assistance. Visit www.turnsealsave.org or call 1-866-550-4355 for information.