Now is the time to make your New Year’s resolutions. (Photo: Jerry Kiesewetter, StockSnap)

It’s that time of year again, when we change our tune from “12 Days of Christmas” to “Auld Lang Syne” and ring in the new year with resolutions that enhance our quality of life. For 2018, consider some resolutions that make your home more comfortable and maximize the value of the energy that you use.

John Watts, EPB energy and communications services senior manager, said:

Set goals in writing for what you want to do and commit to completing a checklist of action items. Then, keep track of your monthly electric bills, as this gives you a tangible way of measuring your success. Don’t feel like you have to do all this in January. Start with the simplest things, such as scheduling a no-cost eScore checkup, and work on the goals one at a time.

Here are seven energy resolutions to consider for 2018, which will go a long way toward enhancing your home’s comfort level and improving air quality, among other things.

Schedule a home energy checkup.
If you live in the TVA footprint, you qualify for a free eScore home energy checkup. In Hamilton County, whether your provider is Volunteer Energy Cooperative or EPB, you are eligible for this service, in which an energy expert uses a TVA-developed model to assess your home’s energy usage. The energy expert will provide information on enhancing efficiency, maximizing value, making repairs and more. You’ll also receive information on cash incentives for making qualifying upgrades like new windows, insulation or water heaters.

Inspect your ductwork.
Anyone can visually check their own HVAC ductwork for leaks. If during your inspection you find questionable gaps, consult an expert to seal and/or insulate your system. Doing so can increase its efficiency by more than 10 percent, saving you money in the long run.

Replace incandescent and halogen light bulbs.
If you’ve not yet made the switch to Energy Star light bulbs, now is the time. LED bulbs with the Energy Star label use up to 90 percent less energy than traditional bulbs, so it doesn’t take long to recoup that cost in savings.

Switch to smart power strips.
For televisions, home theater equipment, computers and chargers, plug them into smart power strips. They reduce the amount of phantom power that these devices consume when they’re not in use by up to 10 percent.

Maintain efficient temperature control.
By using ceiling fans and dehumidifiers, you can maintain a consistent temperature and comfort level in your home. In the winter, adjust the directional switch on your ceiling fan to blow air downward, which will draw down warm air that rises to the ceiling.  In the summer, reverse airflow so that the fan blades circulate cooler air that settles toward the floor to the ceiling. Dehumidifiers make the air feel cooler during warmer months. These adjustments enhance the efficiency of your HVAC unit to maintain comfortable temperatures.

Caulk and weather strip.
If you haven’t done this in recent years, check the caulk and weather stripping around your doors and windows. These seals can wear out over time, which reduces your home’s ability to maintain comfort levels. Replacing caulk and weather stripping is economical and easy to do yourself.

Get a smart thermostat.
A smart thermostat allows you to control your home’s temperature remotely with an app on your smartphone. You can adjust the temperature while you’re away and then reset it to your desired comfort level before you return home. You can also program it to make these adjustments automatically at times that you choose, such as when you leave and return home from work. There is a variety of brands that fit virtually any budget, but do your homework so that you realize return on investment according to your lifestyle.

John Pless is the public relations coordinator at EPB.

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