Does your energy bill double during the cold winter months? By checking a few things around the house, you can reduce energy costs and keep in the warmth without having to spend a fortune.
Consider all the cracks and crevices that could potentially let in cold air and, in turn, cause your furnace to work overtime or leave colder pockets around your home. Before you replace exterior doors and windows in your home try the following:
- Add rubber door sweeps at the base of all external doors. Or you can use a rolled towel or blanket.
- Add weather stripping or caulk around the edges of doors, window trim and baseboards. Caulk is available in a variety of colors now which you can match to paint and floor coverings.
- Add window insulation film on windows. Insulation film is not exactly stylish, but you can hide it behind blinds or drapes. You will be surprised how much it will reduce cold air flow.
- Close the flue in your fireplace unless you use your fireplace frequently. Flues don’t provide a seal, but they will greatly reduce the cold air flow from outside.
- Check the thickness and efficiency of the insulation in your attic, and add more, if needed.
Improve the efficiency of your furnace and water heater through regular maintenance, and by doing so, you can extend the life of these important appliances.
- Change the air filters in your heating system frequently. Some technicians recommend doing so once a month or quarterly. Replacing the air filters will allow more warm air from the furnace to pass through the air ducts and into your living space.
- Make sure your air ducts are sealed, and close off any openings using metal-foil tape, which can withstand higher temperatures and maintain it stickiness over time. In addition, seal cracks around heating vent covers and electrical outlets using pre-cut foam gaskets or a spray foam insulation.
- Switch the direction of your ceiling fans to clockwise. Ceiling fans are universally designed to push air down when they go counter-clockwise, and most models include a switch that will reverse their direction which will push air up instead. Since heat rises, you will push cool air up and let it mix with the warmer air near the ceiling. Ceiling fans are a great supplement to your HVAC system that can help to reduce energy.
- Flush out your water heater each fall by draining out the water in the valve at the base. Doing so will release particles and sediment that collects in the tank over time.
- Check the temperature of your water heater. It should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Insulate pipes that run from the appliance. If your water heater is more than 15 years old, consider getting a specialized water heater blanket.
Exterior home maintenance. Each fall, you should always check the following:
- Make sure that hoses are detached from water spigots located on the outside of your home. When the hose is attached, it is connected to pipes inside your house. When water freezes in the hose, these pipes can freeze and crack and cause water damage inside your walls and elsewhere.
- Make sure your rain gutters are clear of sediment, sticks and leaves that can collect there throughout the year. Rain gutters need to perform their function by draining water off of the roof during a storm and when snow begins to melt. Otherwise, water will pool in the gutters and freeze, which can cause damage to your roof.
You will be surprised how much checking these items in your home will improve energy efficiency and keep you warmer in the winter without having to spend a lot of money.