‘Tis the season to crank your thermostat. Unfortunately it could cost even more than normal. Americans will pay 15% more for heating expenses than last year, according to the EIA.
At this point you’ve got no excuse not to follow this simple guide for winterizing your home.
Dodge the draft
Problem: Cold air is rushing in from underneath your door, and warm air is rushing out.
Solution: The draft snake, adopted during the Great Depression era, is one of the easiest ways to cut back on energy waste. A draft snake can be easily made by rolling up a towel or filling up a pouch of fabric with kitty litter or sand, advises The Daily Green. Or you can buy one pre-made.
Money/Energy Saved: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30% of energy use per year.
Bubble wrap your windows
Problem: You suspect your windows are as old as your grandparents and cold air is leaking through the cracks.
Solution: Tape bubblewrap on your windows to trap the pockets of air that cool down your home. Although it may look funny, the bubblewrap will still allow light to come through and you’ll be saving some major dough, advises Life Hacker.
Money/Energy Saved: Taping up bubblewrap can avoid drafts which waste 5 to 30% of energy usage per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Caulk any gaps
Problem: Little gaps in windows, doors, or cracks in the walls are letting cool air in, raising your energy bill.
Solution: The Daily Green offers a test to find out where to seal these gaps: Have a friend stand outside the suspected window/door/wall with a blow dryer while you hold a lit candle inside. If the dryer blows the candle out, then it’s time to seal those cracks using caulk.
Also check the caulk around your doors and windows outside to see if they’ve deteriorated over time.
Money/Energy Saved: Sealing up drafts will save you to up to 30% of energy use annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Change the direction of your ceiling fans
Problem: The air in your home feels hot and trapped, but turning on a fan only produces cool air.
Solution: If you have any ceiling fans inside your home, know the rules: Counter-clockwise rotation produces cooling breezes and clockwise rotation produces warmer air.
Money/Energy Saved: This method will cut your heating costs by 10%, according to The Daily Green.
Control your thermostat
Problem: You want your home warm so you keep the thermostat high, but your wallet is suffering from the high energy bill.
Solution: Set your thermostat to 50 or 55 degrees when you go to bed and work. You won’t enjoy the warmer temperature while you’re asleep or away from the house, anyway. You can also purchase a programmable thermostat.
Money/Energy Saved: Turning down your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day can save 10% per year on your energy bill, according to Brighter Planet.
Pile up on insulation
Problem: Heat is rising right out of your home, leaving you cold and miserable.
Solution: Loading up on insulation is one of the best ways to save your energy bill so add more between your walls, attic floor, and basement ceiling to stay toasty.
Money/Energy Saved: An insulated home loses a quarter of its heat through the roof, according to Energy Savers.
Turn off your A/C water valve
Problem: You have an A/C with a water valve that you suspect has been leaking, which can clog up your water pipes.
Solution: Shut off the A/C water valve to prevent excess water from collecting in the equipment. Drain all air conditioning pipes, says The Green Daily.
Money/Energy Saved: Doing this during the winter will save you from having to buy a new A/C unit next summer.
Lower your water heater’s temperature
Problem: You’ve unknowingly kept your water heater on the default setting.
Solution: Conventional water heaters are typically set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but most households only need a setting of 120 degrees to be comfortable. Check your water heaters and lower them to 120 degrees.
Money/Energy Saved: Lowering it by 20 degrees will save about 6 to 10% on your bills, says Energy Savers.
Do you have ideas to winterize your home? Please email me with your suggestions and I’ll share!
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