With autumn in the air and cooler months approaching, now is the best time to prepare your home for winter. By taking just a few steps to winterize your home, you’ll be able to keep your energy bills lower and your house cozy and warm all winter long.
- Schedule a tune up—A yearly tune up for your heating system is recommended to prevent unforeseen, costly repairs and to ensure maximum efficiency. Winter and summer are the busiest seasons for contractors, so have a professional perform a thorough inspection in the fall before harsh weather hits.
- Caulk & weather-strip—Warm air can easily escape your home or apartments through window and door cracks. Homeowners who properly seal and insulate their homes can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. Seal leaks in each room using caulk, spray foam, and weather stripping tape. You can also invest in a few door sweeps or draft guards for drafty doorways, and using curtains or plastic window liners to seal windows.
- Prepare your water heater—By turning your electric water heater down to 120°F you can reduce your hot water costs by as much as 50%. To reduce unnecessary heat loss from the heater, wrap it with a blanket or insulation jacket. This can save you up to $45 per year in operating costs.
- Reverse your ceiling fans—For the winter months, switch the direction of your ceiling fans so they are on the reverse setting (blades will appear to move clockwise as you are looking up). This will push warmer air downward and force it to circulate throughout the room, making better use of the heated air.
- Install a programmable thermostat—By installing a thermostat that automatically maintains the proper settings, you could save about $180 a year on heating and cooling costs. Try to keep your house between 68 and 70 degrees while at home, and lower to 65 degrees when you are away. Doing so will save you as much as 10% on your heating bill.
- Don’t heat an empty room – One of the easiest ways to heat your home more efficiently is to close the vents in rooms which are not used regularly. This will help keep the most frequently used rooms at the optimum temperature and help you decrease your energy use.
- Replace air filters – When HVAC (heating, ventilation, & air conditioning) systems are in heavy use, air filters should be changed once a month. Clean air filters keep your system running at optimal levels, decreasing energy costs and helping to prevent earlier-than-expected repairs.
- Avoid using fireplaces. A roaring fire in your fireplace, while cozy, is an extremely inefficient way to warm up your house. It can exhaust as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air per hour to the outside through your chimney. This lost warm air must then be replaced by cold air coming into the house from the outside.
Visit www.greenmountain.com/energysaver for more tips on how to reduce your energy use and save money.
September 18, 2012