8 tips for staying warm inside this winter.
After a day out in the cold winds and freezing temperatures of winter, there’s nothing better than returning home to hunker down and escape the chill. But if you are dealing with cold drafts in your home, your warmth might not be the only thing disappearing – your money could be flowing out as well. If you are tired of cranking up the heat and piling on the blankets, it’s time to keep out the cold for good.
According to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE), proper home weatherization can help consumers save between 5% to 30% on their home energy bill. Here are some simple, cost-effective ways to increase efficiency – and savings.
· Check your home for air leaks. The DOE notes that up to 25% of your home’s heat is lost through small cracks and holes throughout your home. So, the best place to start is with a home energy audit and weatherization, which can check for air leaks, inferior insulation and any gaps around seals in the foundation, door and window frames, entrance areas for electric and gas, cable TV and phone lines, pipes, dryer vents or ventilation fans.
· Weatherstrip around all your doors and windows. To check if this works, light a candle and hold it from inside your home, behind doors and windows. Have a friend or family member blow a hairdryer around each of these doors and windows from the outside. If the candle flickers, you may need to apply more caulk or stripping to make sure the leak is sealed.
· Schedule an annual tune-up for your heating system. Whether it is a heat pump, furnace or boiler – make sure everything is working properly and efficiently.
· Open your curtains during the day. This is particularly helpful for south-facing windows, in order to naturally heat your home with the sun’s light. Close the curtains at night to keep the heat inside.
· Install a programmable thermostat. This way, you can reduce the heat if you are away or asleep. The next home weatherization upgrade would be a “smart” thermostat, which communicates with other thermostats in your house, your power company, and with you (even remotely) to send alerts and adjust temperatures accordingly.
· Set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise. This blows the rising hot air downwards to spread throughout the room.
· Prevent air leaks in your fireplace. Whenever you are not lighting a fire in your fireplace, close the damper. Also be sure that your chimney is clean. If you plan to stop using the fireplace permanently, seal the flue so hot air can’t flow out and cold air can’t creep in.
· Insulate your water heater with a jacket or a blanket. You could save up to 9% on your hot water use with this simple product. Consult with a professional for the best type and size.