These cold weather months are notorious for dreary weather and frigid temperatures that cause you to hole up inside the warmth of your own home. However, what happens when that heat escapes through openings in your windows, doors or other exposed areas, leaving you without any shelter from the harsh elements?
Combat heat loss throughout this season with the following insulation tips that will keep your family comfortable all winter long, while saving money on electric bills in the process!
Insulate the Attic Hatch
Faulty ductwork in the attic door accounts for 10%-30% of total heating costs, so prevent air from seeping through these gaps by tightly sealing the hatch. Maintaining up-to-code attic insulations can reduce your monthly utility bill up to 30%. Make sure to select an adhesive or spray-on insulator that will stay in place when the door opens.
Use Fireplaces Sparingly
These decorative features are intended for aesthetic or entertainment purposes, so avoid utilizing them to keep large areas of your home comfortable. Thaw out around the fireplace in moderation and securely shut the damper after each usage. Otherwise, heat can leak out a poorly sealed damping system and escape through the chimney.
Cover Up Window Panes
Drapes or blinds made with woven, close-fitting and thermal lined material can save 10%-25% on energy costs by ensuring the heat stays indoors. Simply open these curtains during the daytime hours in order for natural light and warmth to enter, then close them completely at night, so that air cannot exit through the unprotected window glass.
Program the Thermostat
Pre-set thermostats regulate your household HVAC system at a constant rate, which yields about 20% in overall energy savings. These devices inhibit surplus heat waste and offer automated convenience, instead of requiring manual adjustments. If the fixed temperature gets too cold, layering with blankets is a cost-effective “quick fix.”
Install Adjustable Shutters
Shutters control how much sunlight can penetrate a room, while protecting against winter’s unpredictable weather patterns. These fixtures also save 25%-30% on utility bills by attracting solar heat throughout the day, then trapping it inside at night. Choose the wood panel, louvered or roll-down designs for extra curb appeal.
Winterize Pipes & Gutters
Insulated pipes conserve hot water supply and minimizes the risks associated with frozen plumbing. Wrap all exterior pipes with pre-slit energy efficient foam, which can be purchased at any local hardware store. Also, clogged gutters form rooftop ice dams that cause indoor water leakage, so regularly inspect them for debris build-up.
Reduce the Water Heater
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average household can decrease energy costs by 3%-5% for every 10 degrees of lowered water temperature. Moreover, this government agency consistently maintains that most homeowners do not perceive any difference between 120-degree water and the standard 140-degree factory setting.
Seal Away Drafts & Leaks
Cool air currents can sneak into your house through various framework cracks, causing utility bills to escalate by 20%. In fact, drafts are responsible for the majority of winter heat loss. Counteract this potential hazard by sealing off exhaust beams, floorboards, exposed beams, stairways, fireplaces, windows, doors and other open spaces.
Replace the Furnace Filter
Accumulated dirt and grime that gets stuck inside an air filter restricts heat from circulating, which makes the furnace generate excess power. Clean the air filter on a monthly basis, at minimum, and replace it altogether periodically. Changing out the filter will lengthen your equipment’s lifespan and increase its energy efficiency by 10%.
Monitor Ventilating Fans
These exhaust units, primarily located in the kitchen and bathroom, can diminish household warmth in one hour. Before leaving a room, turn off ventilating fans and run them in moderation. In addition, keep the humidity level around 30%-60% and help target heat downward by rotating all ceiling fans in a counterclockwise direction.
Despite the outdoor windchill synonymous with this time of year, there’s no reason you should feel resigned to shivering behind closed doors. Avoid winter’s icy sting by equipping your home with these seasonal defenses. Can you think of more economical heat saving strategies? Share your suggestions in the comment section below!