Every time winter rolls around, one of our first tasks is to prepare our home for cold weather. We need to make sure our home has no leaks which waste energy and increase your heating bills! Wintertime energy spikes are driven by an increase in heating, the single largest user of energy in a home. Check out these seven tips to help decrease your utility bills, protect your investment, and keep your home warm during our long New England winter.
Inspect heating system
Be proactive and have your heating system inspected. Replace any air filters in your heating system to improve both air quality and the energy efficiency of your system. Don’t risk having to call a repairman on the coldest day of the year because your heat isn’t working. Ensure your heat pump or furnace is clean and is functioning. You can also have the carbon-monoxide leakage measured.
Better yet, hire an expert to clean and inspect your furnace or heat pump to help ensure that it is working at full efficiency.
Insulate spaces, such as crawl spaces and attics, for sufficient insulation. If not properly insulated, heat loss will occur. Standard fiberglass insulation is effective and installs easily.
Insulate your hot water heater and pipes
Touch your hot water heater. If it feels hot, it’s losing heat to the outside air and should be insulated for optimum efficiency and performance. Insulate your hot water heater with a specialized wrap to reduce the energy it uses. It might also be time to replace your hot water heater with a newer, more energy efficient version that doesn’t need extra insulation.
By insulating your hot water pipes, water in the pipes will stay hotter for a longer period of time. Water pipe foam insulation tubes are inexpensive and easy to install.
Clear your heating vents
Move large pieces of furniture from in front or on top of heating vents. Let your heat circulate into your room rather than be blocked by furniture.
Reverse ceiling fans
When you turn on your heat, run your fan in a clockwise direction (if you have a reverse switch.) The idea is that since heat rises the fan will push the heat down into the room. In rooms with high ceilings, this will help keep your home warm and could help you realize energy savings if you can turn down the heat a bit.
Check your fireplace damper
Your chimney is a direct passage to the cold outdoor air, so check your fireplace damper to ensure it closes fully. If you aren’t using the fireplace, you should seal it with weatherstrip to air seal the damper and prevent wasted energy. Just like doors and windows, fireplaces require should be sealed to prevent energy loss.
If you plan on using the fireplace, hire a professional to inspect and repair the damper to ensure it closes securely when not in use.
Insulate electrical sockets
If all of your electrical sockets are not insulated, you could be wasting a lot of energy. If not properly insulated, the small air gaps can leak more air than you might imagine. By insulating your electrical outlets properly, you can reduce energy use and save on your electric bills. Don’t forget to insulate outdoor electrical sockets as well.
It isn’t difficult to check your home for the telltale signs of leaks. These tips can help you stop the leakage and keep your home warm for the entire season. If you need help and want an expert opinion, contact us for help.