Monday, December 4, 2023 / by Bell Home Team
As winter blankets us in its chilly embrace, the desire for warmth shouldn't be synonymous with soaring energy bills. In this comprehensive guide, we bring you ten practical tips for an energy-efficient and cozy home during the colder months. Whether you're sealing leaks or upgrading to energy-efficient windows, these steps will not only keep you warm but also save you money. Let's dive into these winter-saving strategies:
1. Seal the Leaks:
It's silly to waste money on heating your home when the warm air can easily escape. Combat drafts by sealing gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulk.
Pay extra attention around windows and at points where different exterior materials, such as wood, brick, and vinyl siding meet. Don't forget door sweeps to bolster protection against cold air intrusion.
If you have a chimney that isn’t in regular use, close the damper to cancel heat loss or cool gusts of wind travelling into your home.
2. Invest in Insulation:
Check and upgrade the insulation in your attic, walls, and floors. Adequate insulation is key to maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature. Additionally, air sealing can contribute to energy savings. Proper insulation of attics, walls, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists is another effective measure, potentially saving up to 10% of total energy costs.
3. Program Your Thermostat:
Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable during winter and consider slipping into a sweater before cranking up the heat. Each degree increase can lead to a 3% climb in your fuel bill.
Optimize your thermostat settings by programming lower temperatures when away or asleep. Not only does this energy-saving tip cost you nothing but time, it may also help you with a better night’s sleep.
This simple adjustment can result in substantial energy savings over the winter.
Additional pointer: If your thermostat features programmable temperature zones, consider lowering or turning off the heat in unused rooms for an extra energy-saving boost.
4. Embrace Natural Heat:
Another freebie energy-saver is by capitalizing on sunlight during the day by keeping curtains open and closing them at night to trap the heat. This not only warms your home but also reduces the need for artificial lighting.
5. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Windows:
Consider replacing old windows with double-pane, low-E glass models to minimize heat loss and reduce heating costs. These windows with protective coatings that reflect heat back into your home during the winter can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15% (not to mention, upgrading windows has a huge ROI when selling your home)!
If your budget doesn’t avail for a pricy upgrade to windows, cover your windows with clear plastic film, which only costs about $4-$6 per window. This plastic film boosts the greenhouse effect and creates and insulating air pocket between the plastic and windows, reducing heat loss.
6. Maintain Your Heating System:
Regularly service your heating system, change filters, and address leaks. A well-maintained system operates more efficiently and is less likely to break down.
7. Optimize Water Heater Settings:
Lower your water heater temperature to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit and insulate the water heater and pipes for improved efficiency. Insulating pipes and your water heater can minimize heat loss as water runs from the heater to your faucets, meaning you won’t have to wait as long for hot water, and you will conserve water usage. This can save up to 10% of your total energy costs.
8. Maintain Filters and Heating System Equipment:
It seems a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised what a difference maintaining your furnace filters can make. Regularly clean or replace filters for your furnace and central heating system. Also, cleaning warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators can improve efficiency by 10%.
9. Install Radiator Reflectors:
For homes with radiators, the strategic placement of heat-resistant reflectors between exterior walls and radiators helps prevent unnecessary heating of walls. This not only optimizes heat distribution but also reduces overall heat loss. It's a simple yet effective way to enhance energy efficiency in homes with this heating system.
10. Use Fans Wisely:
Another simple, freebie tip: Did you know that just one hour using a ventilation fan in the kitchen or bathroom can pull out a houseful of warm air? Turn off ventilation fans as soon as they've done their job to prevent this loss of heat. Also, reverse ceiling fans’ direction making them spin counterclockwise, pushing hot air near the ceiling toward the floor.
Implementing these tips will not only keep your home warm and cozy throughout the winter but also contribute to a more sustainable and cost-effective living space. Embrace the winter season with confidence, knowing you've taken steps to make your home a haven of warmth and energy efficiency.