The weather outside might be frightful, but inside, you can still keep things delightful. This winter, save money and stay warm. Considering that nearly half the energy you use in the home goes towards keeping things comfortable, often there are huge energy-saving opportunities you may not have considered. Keep your energy bills low this winter by taking a whole-house approach to heating.
Seal It Up!
- Weatherstrip and caulk windows. Check window frames for cracks and fill them with caulk that contains silicon. Putty-like “rope caulk” can help seal large cracks.
- Replace any broken window panes and repair any large holes in attics, crawlspaces or basements.
- Close the fireplace damper and seal the opening shut when not in use.
- Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible. That includes overhead doors on attached garages. Install foam insulation gaskets behind electric outlets and switch plate covers.
- Seal exposed ductwork. Sealing helps your heating system run more efficiently and also ensures that heated air gets to where it should go.
- During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter the home and closed at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
Tune It Up!
- Get your furnace inspected and tuned up by a heating professional.
- Install a programmable thermostat and set it to lower the temperature at night and whenever the house is unoccupied. Lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees at night and unoccupied times can reduce heating bills by 10 to 20%. Remember, a programmable thermostat only saves energy when it is programmed!
- Get a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Moister air feels warmer, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable even though your thermostat is set at a lower temperature.
- Check all exterior doors for air leaks. A one-eighth-inch gap around a door is equivalent to a 6-inch-square hole in the side of your house and causes a lot of energy loss. Have someone stand on the other side of the door and shine a flashlight around the door’s perimeter. If you can see light through the cracks, your door needs sealing.
- If you have a forced-air furnace, inspect filters at the beginning of the heating season and monthly during the season. Clean or replace them if there is significant dust build-up.
- Measure attic insulation. If it is less than 7 inches deep or if it is less than R-38, consider upgrading with spray foam or batt insulation.
- Don’t block radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies.
- Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable when home.
Doing these tasks now will help ensure Old Man Winter does not scrooge you this heating season. Not only will you help keep the heat inside your home, but you will also feel more comfortable, too. Before you know it, spring will be just around the corner!