News Releases

Sierra Pacific Offers Winter Weatherization Tips

Dec 5, 2004

Media Contact:
Karl Walquist
(775) 834-3891
For Immediate Release

Stay warm and cozy this winter without driving up your home heating bills by being more energy efficient. Following is a list of winter weatherization tips from the energy experts with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Department at Sierra Pacific Power. The list also includes suggestions for other energy efficiency improvements that are appropriate year-round.

It doesn't cost anything to implement most of the tips while some will require an investment in materials or the help of a heating contractor. For a detailed analysis of your home's energy efficiency strengths and weaknesses, try the free home energy audit that's available on Sierra Pacific's website at

Winter weatherization Tips:

  • In the cold months, set the thermostat to 68 degrees when home, and then back to 58 degrees when sleeping or when you're not home more than four hours.
  • In the winter, open window coverings on the sunny side of your home to take advantage of"free heat from the sun."Close the coverings on cloudy days or right after the sun sets.
  • Caulk windows and caulk and weather-strip doors. Keep the outside air out and the inside air in.
  • Replace furnace filters. Spray inexpensive filters with a light coating of lemon furniture polish or vegetable oil cooking spray to help trap dirt in the filter.
  • Replace normal thermostats with programmable thermostats.
  • Install hot water pipe insulation. Do keep the insulation at least six inches away from the flue (exhaust pipe) of gas water heaters
  • Install floor and ceiling insulation: It is recommended to have a minimum of an R-30 - R-38 insulation in the attic and R19 insulation in the sub-floor.
  • Replace inefficient and single pane windows with energy efficient multi-pane, vinyl-framed windows.
  • Service your heating system once a year.
  • If you purchase new appliances, look for those with the ENERGY STAR® label. They can save 10 to 30 percent in electricity use compared to similar products that don't carry the ENERGY STAR®.
  • Test and seal the heating ductwork to improve the efficiency of your heating system.
  • Close foundation vents.
  • Check the chimney damper; it should be closed when you're not using the fireplace.
  • Turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Don't forget your computer - it can use as much energy as a refrigerator. Most new computers have"sleep"settings.
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Make sure your water heater is in good condition. Have water leaks repaired.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils (underneath and in the back) and don't obstruct the coils. They need air space to work.
  • Keep the seals (gaskets) on refrigerators and freezers clean.
  • Keep your freezer as full as possible. You can place containers or plastic bottles filled with water in the empty spaces.
  • Make sure food is cool and covered before it goes into the refrigerator.
  • Run full loads in your washer and dryer and dishwasher. Also, if your dishwasher has a filter, clean it.
  • Use energy saver option on your dishwasher, allowing dishes to air dry.
  • Unplug your televisions/VCR when you're on vacation. Most new sets draw power even when they're turned off.
  • Keep lights and lighting fixtures clean, especially if you're reducing the number of lights you use. Dirt absorbs light. Let lights cool before cleaning them and never touch halogen bulbs with your bare hands. The oil from your skin can greatly damage the bulbs. Use a small piece of paper to hold the bulb.
  • Clean the reflectors underneath the burners on stovetops.
  • Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. This will typically save $1 per month per bulb changed out (for bulbs running 4-6 hours per day).
  • Clean furnace system and check ducts for leaks.
  • Install electrical outlet and switch plate insulation.
  • Fix leaky faucets and install low-flow showerheads.
  • Check the seals on your refrigerator and freezer.