DIY – Prepare Your Home for Greater Efficiency Before Winter
The only thing that you may be dreading more than the cold weather that is coming soon is having to pay the high heating costs that come with it. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can save money on your bill, and many of them are easy to implement.
Of course, the most straightforward thing that you can do is to simply turn down your thermostat. The general consensus is that your heating costs will go down about 3 percent for every degree that it is turned down. One significant way that you can save money by doing this is to turn it down about 10 degrees when you are at work and when you go to sleep as doing so should decrease your heating bill by about 15 percent.
Another way to save money is to ensure that the warm air that is inside remains there. Walk around your house, and make sure that you do not feel any drafts coming in from the outside. The most likely sources will be around doors and windows. Make sure to check your attic as well as much of the house’s heat is lost through this area of the house.
Some people will hold a lit match or incense stick and see where it flickers. This is especially useful if it is not winter yet as it may be more difficult to determine where these drafts may be located without being able to feel the chilly air streaming in.
There are several ways that you can close up these drafty openings.
One of the simplest and most affordable ways is to use a draft stopper. These are cheap – and oftentimes cute – items that can be simply placed in front of cracks that are at the bottom of places like doors and windows. They come in a variety of types and sizes.
A couple of other options include using weatherstripping or caulk. These are useful for taking care of any drafts not located next to the floor. You should consider replacing these forms of sealant every few years.
As much as you want to ensure that drafty openings are closed, you also want to make sure that you have not accidentally blocked vents that are bringing the heat in. This is often done when carpets or pieces of furniture have accidentally been placed over or in front of these openings.
Many do not realize that their ceiling fans can simply be switched to a reverse direction, which redistributes the warm air that has risen to near the ceiling back into the lower portions of the room where you and your family and friends are.
Some people decide to install double- or triple-pane windows or storm windows in order to provide an extra buffer between the warm inside of your house and the frigid air that is outside. Although these can be expensive to install, they usually pay for themselves within a couple of years and make a lot of financial sense in the long term.
Another more costly item you can install that will quickly pay for itself is a smart thermostat. This can be programmed to turn the heat up or down at certain times of the day and to control the climate in individual rooms. The latter option is great if there are rooms that are rarely used as you do not want to be spending money heating these portions of your home.
Even if you do not have a smart thermostat, make sure that you close off unused rooms by closing the vents that enter those places or otherwise cutting them off from the heat supply.
Another important step in reducing your heating bills is making sure that your heating system has been maintained recently as clogged filters significantly decrease its efficiency and dramatically increase your bill. In general, filters should be cleaned every few months and replaced every few years.
Water heaters are another place where people can save money on their heating costs. This is especially true if it is still set at 140 degrees, which is usually what it was when it was installed. If you decrease this to a still comfortable 120 degrees, you can save up to 10 percent on your water heating costs for the year.
By taking advantage of these recommendations, you will surely have a more efficient home this coming winter.