It's been a long, hot summer in Washington, D.C., but we're finally starting to slide into autumn and cooler weather. You might have noticed that we've already changed our seasonal tips page over to "Stay Warm, Save Money," so now is a good time to look at your house and car and think about winter.
For instance, in summertime, you want to reduce or eliminate the heat that comes from sunlight; in winter, you want to maximize that heat. Solar heat gain can reduce the amount of heat your furnace has to produce; open the curtains during the day and you can save yourself some bucks.
While we're on the subject, check your furnace's air filters and ducts (as much as you can). This is a good time to clean and replace whatever's needed. It will help your furnace's efficiency and can have some positive health effects, too (by reducing the amount of dust circulating in your home, for instance).
Finally, keep your fireplace closed and the flue shut when not in use. A fireplace is a hole in your house, after all, and hot air can use it to escape.
There are lots of tips and suggestions on the "Stay Warm, Save Money site—I've only hit on three of them. What's important is deciding to take action. Just knowing how to save energy won't take a penny off your electricity bill; you have to make it happen.
So get busy! Winter is coming!