By Tim Talevich
KEEPING ENERGY COSTS down in a home office
is a smart policy. The good news is that many
energy-saving steps don’t require significant expenditures: They can be as small as changing light bulbs
or adding insulation strips around doors—or simply
Here are some energy-smart tips for the home
office from Energy Star, a government-backed program that promotes energy conservation.
Seal your home
If you add up all the hidden air leaks in your
home, they can equal a hole the size of an open window—and can lead to higher energy bills by allowing heat or cool air to escape and causing your
system to work harder to keep you comfortable.
This makes home sealing one of the first and most
important steps you can take to reduce home energy
Sealing air leaks and adding insulation—paying
special attention to the attic and basement, where
the biggest gaps and cracks are often found—will
keep warm air inside where it belongs and help your
equipment perform more efficiently. For more
information, get the Environmental Protection
Agency’s A Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and
Maintain your equipment
Equipment maintenance is one of the most
important steps you can take to keep your heating
system at peak performance. Schedule a fall checkup
of your heating system with a licensed contractor.
Also, clean or change your system’s air filter
once a month to prevent increased energy costs and
system failure. You’ll recoup the costs of maintenance through lower energy bills.
Use a thermostat
Using a programmable thermostat to regulate
your home’s temperature saves energy by offering
convenient, preprogrammed temperature settings.
When used properly, a programmable thermostat
can save as much as $150 every year in energy costs.
Use a ceiling fan
Fans are usually thought of as a way to cool
people in summer by creating a wind-chill effect
against their skin. But a ceiling fan can also help in
winter. Most fans have a switch that allows you to
reverse the motor and operate the ceiling fan at low
speed in the clockwise direction. This produces a
Easy tips to cut your energy bill
The Costco Connection
Costco and Costco.com carry LED bulbs and a
wide variety of Energy Star–compliant appliances
for homes and businesses. Costco.com carries
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Simply follow these steps:
1. SELECT YOUR PRODUCT.
Choose the appropriate-size
fan for the proper combination
of comfort and efficiency. (If
you’re unsure about the fan-to-room size, choose a larger fan
to maximize your comfort at
2. WHAT STYLE AND COLOR
DO YOUR PREFER?
For a coordinated look, match
the blade finish to furniture or
molding. Or select a fan body
finish that matches door or
cabinet hardware. Many fans
feature reversible blades. A
different finish on each side
of the blade permits styling
3. HOW HIGH IS YOUR
The height and orientation of
your ceiling are key considerations. For low ceilings, the
motor housing of the fan fits
flush to the ceiling. If your ceiling is 9 feet or higher, you’ll
need an extension downrod.
Such extensions are also
needed for angled ceilings.
4. DO YOU NEED A LIGHT?
Choose a fan with a coordinated light fixture included or
customize the fan with an
accessory light fixture.
5. SELECT A FAN CONTROL.
To operate your fan and light
separately from a single
switch without additional
rewiring, choose a wall control. For convenient, easy operation in bedrooms and rooms
with high ceilings, consider a
wireless remote control.—TT
for your home
How to select
a ceiling fan