How to Stay Warm and Save Energy

For people in much of the country, temperatures are going down and utility bills are skyrocketing up. Home heating accounts for about 45 percent of the typical American household’s energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. One of the biggest culprits behind high heating bills is heat loss that occurs through small holes and cracks in the home’s envelope. Though seemingly small, these little escape hatches can drain up to 25 percent of a home’s heat, DOE reports. …

4 Myths About Daylight Saving Time

Let’s hope you’ve recovered from Groggy Monday, the day after we turn our clocks ahead an hour (and lose an hour of sleep) for that  convoluted practice called daylight saving time. Even though studies show that this fiddling with our sleep schedule is a bad idea – a higher risk of car accidents from sleepy drivers during the Monday morning commute, workplace injuries because of tired workers, a spike in heart attack risk – we’re still somehow wedded to “springing …

End the Year With These Fabulous Freebies

Some fabulous freebies to end the year with and ring in 2014: Free Video From Santa: Hurry! Time is running out to send the kids a personalized video from Santa via this website. If’ you’ve already sent out your Christmas cards, remember it for next year. Free 2014 Calendar: Click on the link for these free, downloadable calendars. You can customize them to meet your needs and track your schedule. Free Financial Planning Tools: Several websites like Mint, Bankrate and AARP offer free calculators …

Not Enough Households Staying Warm With LIHEAP

Low-income households often face challenges in keeping pace with rising energy costs. A recent study shows that despite federal assistance amounting to $3.4 billion, in the winter of 2011-12 low-income households were left struggling to pay $35.1 billion in energy costs. The federal government helps eligible low-income households maintain adequate energy mainly through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP serves to protect eligible families by helping keep their homes warm during winter and cool during summer. Although …

Programmable Thermostats: Savings or Not?

A couple of years ago I wrote an article for AARP about simple ways to reduce the cost of heating your home. After reading it, my wife promptly added a number of the energy-saving tips I’d suggested to my “honey-do” list, including installing three programmable thermostats around our house. The good news was that the new thermostats were inexpensive and easy to install. We found a three-pack on sale at a home improvement center for  $70, and, much to my …

Solar Panels: Rent, Buy or Skip?

Whether you’re concerned about saving the environment or just interested in saving yourself a few bucks, equipping your house with a solar energy system is an interesting, albeit rather complicated, proposition to consider. The cost of installing a residential solar system has fallen dramatically over the years. Now a number of companies have started programs to lease, instead of sell, solar energy equipment to homeowners, some in partnership with home improvement centers including Lowes and Home Depot. Sign up for …