Cooler autumn temps usually offer a nice break from the added costs of heating and air conditioning bills. Yet, before you know it, you’ll be cranking up the heat and doing whatever it takes to keep the dropping temps outside where they belong. Make a plan now to help reduce possible higher heating costs and increase your home’s energy efficiency and comfort.
Use these top 5 tips to ensure your home is winterized well in advance and ready to fight off unwelcome drafts as well as high energy bills.
Create air tight windows
If you can afford it, investing in energy-efficient windows is the best way to reduce average heating costs by as much as 20 to 30%. Yet, if that’s just not an option for your budget right now, there are still a few other ways to make sure the cold air stays where it belongs, outside. Start by checking for air leaks by running your hand along the around the outer edges of the window. If a draft or a hint of sunlight is found seeping through the window’s frame, simply install weatherstripping, or apply caulking around the window’s perimeter.
Extra tip: On south-facing windows, make sure to keep blinds and curtains open during the day to benefit from the added warmth of sunlight.
Make your HVAC system more efficient and the air you breath in your house healthier by making it a habit to routinely change the air filters in the vents around your house. Dirty filters make a home’s heating and air conditioning equipment work harder and can often reduce its overall efficiency and its lifespan. Most one-inch filters should be changed once every three months, but as often as once a month if you have several animals and/or allergies.
Using heavier drapes or installing blinds can also help create an extra barrier between an older window and the cold outside air. However, make sure to check that the location of each heating vent is free of obstructions. Removing any debris or blocking furniture, draperies, or other household objects, will ensure proper airflow and help maximize energy efficiency.
DIY door draft stopper
Re-purpose some old clothing and make your own draft stopper to prevent cold air from seeping into your house through a window or door. Our favorite and easiest choice is to use an old wool scarf and sew the seams together along the sides and the bottom to make a tube. Stuff it with cotton, sand, or even beans, and sew the top side closed. Place it along the bottom of a door or window jam, and there you have it, one of the simplest ways to block unwanted drafts.
Invest in backup support with a programmable thermostat
Picture it, you’re sitting in a 2 p.m. meeting at work when you suddenly remember you forgot to lower the temperature on the thermostat at home– for the third time this week. You can almost feel the dollar bills flying out of your wallet and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Hands down, experts say installing a programmable thermostat is one of the best ways to reduce added energy expenses, (not to mention having to remember that extra daily task). After installation, simply program the desired temperatures you want throughout the day and night, and let the pre-set schedule do the work for you.
For more DIY ideas and tons of green living tips, check out our Quick Tips section.