Does it seem cold to you?

Energy saving tips for a cold winter

Energy auditor Mary Winston of Energy Masters checks a building for sources of escaped energy.

Energy auditor Mary Winston of Energy Masters checks a building for sources of escaped energy.

Photo By Todd Upton

EnergySavr,, or 1-800-983-1232.

Energy Masters,, or (775) 250-9796.

When people are skiing down your street, you know it’s cold. When you can see your breath, and the dog’s water dish is frozen solid, and your car barely starts, it’s safe to say the temperature has dipped. The question is: What can you do about it when you’re home?

One idea is EnergySavr window inserts. It sounds like a subject line in a revolutionary vitamin email scam, but these insulated window inserts are worth a look. EnergySavr is a Reno-based company that specializes in energy efficiency for older homes, such as Lake Mansion, which uses the inserts. They install easily within your existing window, are custom-made, practically invisible, and affordable (between $45 and $100 depending on its size). This is a home-grown product that will save you money on your heating bill and keep your house significantly warmer.

Another way to address a drafty dwelling is by hiring a professional to perform a complete home energy assessment. Sierra Pacific offers a free home energy audit, but due to the popularity of the program, you might have to wait a while. For a reasonable fee, Energy Masters in Reno will come to your house and check the place out for cracks and gaps that allow cold air in and warm air out.

Owner Mary Winston explains via email: “We provide whole-house services utilizing specialized training and advanced equipment to determine how a house works, identifying root causes of problems and providing lasting solutions based on quantifiable criteria.”

Put another way, they use cutting-edge technology and expert staff to assess your domicile’s energy efficiency and suggest ways to improve its wintertime performance.

Some things you can do to save energy and reduce your power bill are simple measures but easy to put off. Next time you’re wandering the aisles at your local home improvement mega-store, think about installing timers on your thermostats; adding insulation to your attic, crawl space, walls and floors; weather-stripping doorways and windows; and changing the filter in your furnace

But my favorite energy-saving suggestion is something I like to call “extreme sleeping.” Turn the thermostat down to 50°F at night and get a really good comforter. One year I lived in Jackson, Wyo., in a really leaky house with my significant other. We turned the furnace off at night, and it was so cold by morning that we had to play Rochambeau to see who was going to get up and turn on the heater. One time we used a humidifier in the bedroom, and the next day we woke up to a wall-to-wall cumulous cloud. When we sat up, our heads were above the cloud, but our bodies were hidden below. It was awesome.

So try these tips at home, and see what good things come your way. Lower heating bills, a less breezy abode, and indoor parka-wearing at the breakfast table could all be yours.