Winterizing Your Home

Now that the first snow is fallen the denial is over... Winter is here, and for most of us that means higher heating bills. To cut down on cost there are some easy tricks to winterize your home without breaking the bank. Popular Mechanics has come up with a comprehensive list of 19 Ways to Winterize Your Home.

Cover Up Drafts

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5%-30% of your energy use. An option for covering the space under the door is a draft snake which you can either make yourself or purchase.

Change Furnace Filters

Furnace filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month during the winter months. You can also consider switching to a permanent filter which can trap around 88% of debris instead of only 10%-40%.

Run Fans in Reverse

Switching to a clockwise rotation makes it warmer since air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space.

Winterize A/C & Water Lines

Drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes, making sure there is no excess water in your equipment. Turn off any exterior spigots and shut off your a/c.

Turn Down Your Water Heater

Lowering the temperature from 140 degrees F to 120 degrees F reduces your water heating costs by 6%-10%.

Install Storm Doors & Windows

This can easily increase energy efficiency by 45%, sealing the drafts and reducing air flow. They also offer better light and ventilation into your home.

Keep Your Furnace Clean

A clean and lubricated furnace can save up to 5% in heating costs.

Turn Down the Thermostat

Make sure you turn down your thermostat when no one is home to save on efficiency. For every degree lower the thermostat is set during the winter months saves 1%-3% on the heating bill.

Use Window Plastic

Pick up a cheap window insulation kit to add a buffer against drafts.
Use an Energy Monitor. This device indicates household electrical useage and projects your monthly bill. By seeing what you use in real time you can easily cut waste, potentially saving 15%-20% each month

Use Caulk & Weatherstriping

Small leaks can cost you up to 30% in your energy efficiency, covering up these small gaps around windows or doors can pay off.
Dress for the Season. A long-sleeved sweater is worth about 2 degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater adds 4.

Boost Insulation

Insulation is one of the biggest ways to save money on energy. Adding more insulation between walls, attic floor and basement ceiling can make a difference in energy cost.

Insulate Your Pipes

This will reduce the cost on hot water as well as decreasing the chance your pipes will freeze. Also consider insulating your hot water heater.
Seal Air Ducts. 10%-30% of air in an average system escapes from ducts. Sealing these ducts can save an average home up to $140 annually, according to American Solar Energy Society.

Take Advantage of Tax Credits

There are various state and federal incentives to encourage the use of efficient windows and doors, insulation, roofing, HVAC and alternative energy technologies.

Perform an Energy Audit

This can show you what pressing improvements needs to be made to your home in order to get the best results throughout the winter season. Check out our post on Energy Audits for further reading.

Go Alternative

Get creative and use alternate energy technologies like solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, biomass stoves or small wind turbines. There are many state and federal incentives to encourage this alternative route

Upgrade to an Efficient Furnace

If it's been a while since you've upgraded your furnace now may be the time. Although it's a large cost upfront, it will save you in the future.

These simple upgrades can increase the value of your home when you're ready to sell. To discuss the right time for you to buy or sell a house, contact Josh Lavik & Associates at 608-620-4234.

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