Energy Solutions

Man installing reflective foil insulation

Do radiant barriers really make a difference?

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen Dear Pat: I’ve heard that installing a radiant barrier in my attic could save me a lot of money on my energy bill. What exactly is a radiant barrier, and does it really make a difference? – Don Dear Don: A radiant barrier reflects radiant heat and can be […]

How smart should you get when purchasing a new thermostat?

Dear Pat: We have an old dial thermostat. There seem to be a lot of choices for thermostats nowadays, but are the pricier, more tech-focused options worth the additional cost? – Ted Dear Ted: Today, many thermostats offer great new technologies and can do things thermostats of the past simply could not do. That said, […]

Water heater efficiency and maintenance

Dear Pat: My water heater is 15 years old. About how long should it last? Are there things I can do to maintain it and make it more ­efficient? Or should I just replace it? – Max Dear Max: It’s hard to say how long your water heater will last. Certified home inspectors estimate the […]

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 […]