ADA - The Department of Energy has designated October as National Energy Awareness Month, and everyone can take an active part in becoming more aware of immediate energy usage.

It can be easy for many of us to see the financial impact of weatherizing our own homes, but the impact is much larger than that. For example, according to a 2011 report from the Department of Energy in 2011, weatherization decreases national energy consumption by the equivalent of 24.1 million barrels of oil annually.

As the leaves fall, so do the outdoor temperatures. Many people may automatically think that means turning up the thermostat, but that action does not have to be automatic. Taking simple steps can reduce the amount of home heating your family has to do.

Before the weather gets too cold, check any window, duct or any other opening to the outside from your house for drafts. Caulking a window or installing storm windows may be enough to help you heat your home for less. Also check that your insulation is installed properly and is in good shape.

Many community agencies, such as HHWP Community Action Commission, assist consumers with home energy audits and weatherization tips. The local office may be reached at 419-423-3755, or on the web at www.hhwpcac.org.

Take a few minutes to check out your home. Change your furnace filter, weatherize your windows, and clean the coils on your refrigerator. If you use heat tape, update any regular maintenance required for efficient use. Help your neighbor install some storm windows to help trap more heat inside the house. Get the easy jobs out of the way before the white stuff starts falling from the sky!