Saving Energy This Winter Season

A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R,C-Deerpark)

Now that Thanksgiving has ended, the real winter starts. We’ll continue to get colder weather, tougher conditions and higher energy costs to keep our homes warm. But don’t worry, there are alternative ways to help keep the house comfortable while saving you money. These are some of the tricks I use, and I wanted to share them with others interested in keeping heating and gas costs low this season.

While holiday lights are pretty and highly enhance any holiday decoration, they also use a lot of energy. I like to have my string lights, or decorative lighting in general, on a timer so they’re not constantly running up my bill. When it comes to saving on my heating bill, door gap fillers go a long way to ensuring you’re not using valuable built-up heat already in the house. Keeping curtains open during the day does the same, as it allows the sun to soak into your house and naturally warm it up, even if you’re not at home.

When I was living in apartments, I often liked to unplug devices when they weren’t in use, like phone chargers or even my TV. The small cents saved made a difference for me back in the day. So, too, did lowering my thermostat when I went to sleep. I like it a bit cooler than most people, admittedly, but when you’re under a blanket for the night you don’t rely on the heat to keep you as regulated. These were my two favorite strategies as a young adult just finding his way in the world.

Now that I’m a homeowner, though, the energy-saving projects are bigger. Low-use water fixtures in sinks and showers can be initially pricy depending on where you shop, but they do go a long way to ensuring you’re not being wasteful. The big lesson I had to learn was properly sealing the attic. Vents in the attic, in particular, help regulate heat throughout the house, so ensuring that everything but the vents are insulated saves you the worry of having to use an attic vent fan.

These are just a handful of options to consider. More strategies and tricks are out there, and I learn new things to try every year. If you’re looking for a deeper dive, consider checking out this website for more advice: However you decide to spend your time this winter season, I hope it’s a safe and special one for each and every one of you.