With temperatures getting ready to drop — soon, right? — as winter approaches, homeowners and businesses should be preparing to save as much energy as they can in their properties.

 

Money-saving expert Andrea Woroch of online consumer company Kinoli Inc., shares some easy tips to make the coming cold months more affordable.

 

Energy audit: The first step is to assess any problem areas. Ask if your utility company provides a free or low-cost energy audit, which will identify changes you should make.

 

Seek incentives: Some states offer improvement incentives, including providing and installing a free programmable thermostat; paying a portion of insulation upgrades; or providing rebates on the cost of materials. Look for such offers at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (www.dsireusa.org).

 

Dodge the draft: You can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use to heat the great outdoors through drafts, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The simplest remedy is to place draft dodgers or snakes at leaking doors. You can use an old towel or make your own easily out of a leg of pantyhose stuffed with rice or sawdust and tied at both ends.

 

Weather strip thresholds: Draft snakes are fine for cracks at the bottom of doors, but we often lose heat at the sides and top of doors and windows. Check out this Dummies.com video explaining how to install weather strips.



Upgrade attic insulation: Roofs are energy vampires. They’ll suck rising heat right out of your home, if not properly insulated. Types of insulation include the standard fiberglass (in both batt and blown forms), rigid foam board, spray foam and cellulose. Unless you’re handy around the house, this is a project best left to professionals.