Energy Solutions

Switch things up with stylish, efficient lighting for your home

Dear Pat: After 20 years with the same lighting in our home, it’s time for a change. I’ve done some research and there are so many types of light fixtures and bulbs it’s making my head spin! How can I select something practical, affordable and efficient? – Heidi Dear Heidi: This is an excellent question […]

Ductless heat pumps

Dear Pat: My ­husband and I are tired of ­paying such high electric bills ­during the winter. We think our winter bills are high because of our baseboard heaters, and our summer bills are high because of our window AC units. Our neighbor just installed a ductless heat pump system in their home. Do you […]

The benefits of air source heat pumps

Dear Pat: It looks like we’ll be needing to replace our furnace soon, and we’re wondering if a heat pump would help us save some money. Do you have any suggestions? – Jonathon Dear Jonathon: Your question is an excellent one, since for most of us, heating and cooling accounts for the largest part of […]

Charging ahead

Dear Pat: My son and his wife just bought an electric vehicle. I was ­surprised to learn that the cost of their new electric vehicle was comparable to a gasoline-powered car. I need to replace my car in a few years and would like to learn more about electric vehicles. What are the pros and […]

Woman installing a storm window in her house

Affordable strategies for drafty, inefficient windows

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen Dear Pat: Our home is very old and includes the original windows. My wife and I worry they aren’t as energy efficient as they could be. The windows let in cold drafts during the winter, and some of the rooms seem to overheat in summer. We’re frustrated because we […]

Windows to the world

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen Dear Pat: We recently bought a home with windows from the 1960s that are drafty and need replacing. We would like to ensure that our new windows are energy efficient. Can you offer any tips? – Lena Dear Lena: Replacing your windows is often the most costly and least […]

Two men inspecting air ducts

Choosing the right air conditioner for your home

Dear Pat: I have a central air conditioner in my home that is at least 15 years old – it is not very efficient, but still works. Should I look into replacing it now, or wait until it fails? – Bob Dear Bob: Replacing an inefficient air conditioner (AC) with a more efficient model could […]

Seal tight, ventilate right

Dear Pat: Now that ­winter is here, I’d like to make my home more ­comfortable by ­keeping cold air out. I’m ­planning to have a contractor inspect and seal air leaks. However, a neighbor ­mentioned that I could seal up my home too much and cause ­ventilation ­problems. Is this true? – Tricia Dear Tricia: You’re […]

Remodeling the heart of your home

Dear Pat: My family is ­planning to remodel our kitchen in the ­coming months. The remodel will be pricey, but we hope to incor­porate energy ­efficient features that will help reduce our energy costs. What are some things we can do to make sure our kitchen is as energy efficient as it can be? – […]

Keeping your pets (and your energy bill!) comfortable

By Patrick Keegan Dear Pat: I recently adopted a dog, but I work during the day. I want to make sure he stays ­comfortable without ­making my electrical bill go ­haywire. Can you offer any tips? – Annie D. Dear Annie: Congratulations on your new furry family member! It’s a good idea to think about […]