Spend Less to Heat Your Home
The house you live in doesn’t need to cost so much to heat. There are practical steps you can take today to improve your home’s energy efficiency. These easy-to-implement tips for winterizing your home will lower your monthly heating costs while also keeping your home more comfortable all year long. Consider some of the following…
Use a Lower Thermostat Setting
Most people can see a difference in how their furnace performs with just a slight change in temperature. When set to 68 degrees, a furnace may seem to rarely turn on, and at 69 or 70, it may seem to never turn off. By acclimating your family to a slightly lower house temperature and compensating with a sweatshirt or pair of wool socks, you can save a bundle on heating expenses.
Seal Your Chimney Flue
Many homes with wood fireplaces lose a lot of heat from their chimney flues. The traditional systems — especially in older homes — do not seal tightly when closed. This is the equivalent of keeping a window wide open all winter long. To seal a fireplace, consider custom cutting a piece of Thermax or other thermal boundary material to keep the winter outdoors. Just be sure that you aren’t sealing off your flue if there’s even the slightest remaining flame, ember, or smoke from a previous fire. It must be completely and fully extinguished.
Use Fans to Circulate Air
Rather than relying entirely upon your ductwork to circulate heated air through your home, consider the use of fans to improve your home’s energy efficiency. If you have ceiling fans, run them on low in a clockwise direction through the winter. The movement will draw cool air up and push warm air down.
Plastic on Your Windows
Installing plastic on your windows can show you almost instantly how much you’re heating the outdoors. This is one of the most effective ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Some people can actually see the plastic on their windows puffing up like a sail, as airflow from outside is trapped before coming into the home. With an investment of just a few dollars, this can make one of the biggest differences to the efficiency and comfortability of your home.
Shut Your Doors & Windows
This may seem obvious…but there’s a reason it’s on our list. Many people keep doors or windows open in the winter out of either absent-mindedness or bad habits. Sometimes it’s when visiting with someone in the entryway or when bringing groceries in. Sometimes one family member likes a certain room cooler than another and other times it’s a door that isn’t quite latching properly. Taking extra efforts with your doors and windows can improve your home’s energy efficiency and save you a lot of discomfort in your home and your wallet through the winter.
Seal Bypasses Before You Insulate
Many people know that their attics need more insulation. Before that insulation is installed, however, they should make sure that every bypass is sealed. A bypass is anywhere that conditioned air (heated or cooled) escapes the home into unconditioned or untreated spaces. An example of a bypass is a light fixture. From the attic, you’ll be able to see a hole cut into your ceiling for the installation of the light. If the space between the installed light and the ceiling sheetrock is not sealed (with a silicone caulk, expanding foam, or some other air-tight sealant), heat will escape your home. Before you spend money to insulate, improve your home’s energy efficiency by taking the steps to stop the flow of air into your attic.
Keep Your Furnace Filter Clean
A furnace filter purifies the air that is pushed through your home. When your ductwork is kept clean, it more easily moves treated (warmed) air throughout the home. A clean filter also extends the life of your furnace and saves you money. It lets the furnace run more efficiently, maintaining temperatures more consistently with less use of energy.
A duct blasting test will reveal your homes energy efficiency and where leaks in your ductwork are putting undue strain on your furnace. Seams, holes, and cracks in ductwork allow heat to escape from the ductwork before the treated air ever reaches the vent. As a result, heated air ends up being released into unfinished areas, basements, wall cavities, etc. and never makes it into the finished space you’re trying to heat.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and once these are done, you’ll begin to identify other areas where your home’s energy efficiency can stand to improve. At Blower Door MN, we can help you know exactly where your trouble spots are and how you should address them.