Winterize Your Home to Save on Heating Costs
With much of the country already experiencing lower than average temperatures and early snowfall, now is the time to make sure your home is ready for winter. Winterizing your home not only keeps you comfortable, it will help you save money on heating costs and minimize the need for costly home repairs.
Seal the Leaks — Energy Star estimates that sealing leaks can help you save up to 20% on heating costs. You can find the leaks by simply stripping off your socks and walking the perimeter of your home’s interior on a chilly night. It won’t take long to feel the drafty areas around doors, windows and vents; even loose switch plates can let cold air sneak in. Once found, seal the leaks with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping.
Clean Your Gutters — The benefits of clean gutters far outweigh the time it takes to do the chore. Clean gutters allow water to drain away quickly so that it doesn’t freeze on your roof or under your shingles. Cleaning the gutters also helps inhibit pest infestations and mold growth, both of which can be costly to remedy.
Wrap Pipes and Hot Water Heater — This is another one that not only keeps you comfortable, but helps save on heating costs. Did you know that simply insulating your water pipes can raise water temperature by as much as four degrees? And insulating your hot water heater can reduce water heating costs by up to 9%?
Check the Furnace and Filter — Don’t wait for the coldest night before turning on your furnace for the first time. It’s normal to experience a strong odor the first time you fire it up for the season, but it should fade quickly. If it doesn’t, it’s time to call in the professionals to service it. And don’t forget to start the season with a clean furnace filter and change them once a month. A clean filter allows maximum airflow and helps lower overall energy costs.
Reverse Ceiling Fans — Here’s an easy one. Simply reverse the rotation of your ceiling fan blades. This often overlooked trick actually pushes the warm air down and helps it circulate throughout the room, eliminating cold spots and increasing comfort. Not sure which direction it should be going? Easy. The blades should be turning clockwise as you look up at them. (Just remember to switch them back in the spring).