Quick ways to reduce winter energy bills

Q. I just moved into my new home, and it was never disclosed how high my heating bills would be. I didn’t think to ask. What do you suggest I do?

A. Nobody should have to be cold this winter because they can’t afford to pay the electric bill. But instead of spending time and energy trying to get some recourse, think about doing some repairs. You will save money in the long run.
Here are some ways to curb usage and reduce energy bills:

Lower the thermostat to 68 degrees. Learn more about thermostat settings and energy savings at the U.S. Department of Energy website, energy.gov.

Seal air leaks. This includes all holes from pipes and wires that enter/exit the living space. Look at entrances, pull-downs and attic stair openings, light fixtures, pipes and wires.

Seal duct work. Make sure that all duct work is sealed at the joints and intersections with duct sealer or silicone caulk. Use foil-backed tape or silicone caulking on ducts.

Change furnace filters monthly. Also inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Have a professional check and clean furnaces once a year.

Weather-strip doors, window and attic entryways. Inspect windows and doors for air leaks. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then it needs sealing with caulking or weather-stripping. Also, insulate attic entryways.

Good luck with these small adjustments.

Q. l especially like when you write about high-end homes for sale. What is new with winter vacation homes?

A. I found a stunner if you want a ski home in Squaw Valley. This four-bedroom, five-bathroom estate at 325 Squaw Valley Road spreads nearly 5,500 sq. ft. and more than 29 acres. Wayne and Sandy Poulsen, founders of the nearby Squaw Valley Ski Resort, built and owned the chalet-style home.

The beautiful lodge has everything your winter-loving heart desires, including rustic wood and stone work and overhead beams, as well as an indoor swimming pool and spa. Private and sheltered, the estate’s expansive grounds leave plenty of room for exploring. This home is listed for $15,000,000.

If your budget is smaller, you might want to go to Boulder, Colo., for vacations. A gorgeous lakefront contemporary is an outdoor lover’s dream in winter and summer. Just a stone’s throw from some of the best skiing in the state, the property features bright, flexible spaces, clean lines and views of the water from nearly every room.

Built in 2017, the three-bedroom, four-bathroom home offers energy-efficient features like solar domestic hot water, solar hot water heat, southern exposure and a high-efficiency furnace. The home also has a sauna, wet bar, kitchen island, media room, steam shower and a deck right at the edge of the lake. It’s listed for $4,125,000.

I hope my descriptions paint a picture for you. There isn’t room in the newspaper for photos of them.

Email Lynne@LynneFrench.com. French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates.

Lynne French
Lynne French
Realtor at Compass Real Estate | 925-672-8787 | lynne@lynnefrench.com | Website

Lynne French is a Realtor with Compass Real Estate and captain of the Lynne French Team. Originally from Chicago, Lynne French came to San Francisco at the height of the 1960 and started a boutique at age 21. She went on to open two other shops. As industries shifted, Lynne took off on an adventure as a truck driver. For 10 years Lynne owned, operated and drove her big rig throughout the 48 states. One day, her truck broke down for the last time, and it was time to move on. In 1993 an ad for real estate training caught her eye and she began her real estate career as an assistant. Eventually she struck out on her own and had to hire her assistant to handle the volume of work. Lynne's decision to become an office in 2005 came from a sincere alignment with three basic principles: hire the best people, give them the best tools, create thriving communities. When not helping her clients, Lynne and her husband Danny enjoy country living within the foothills of Mt. Diablo.