Wintertime brings a whole host of issues to homeowners. If you're not dealing with shoveling snow or insulating your pipes, you're probably agonizing over your recent energy bills. Nothing affects the budget like costly heating during a cold, wet winter. The good news is your energy bill doesn't have to create such a large impact. Here are some energy saving tips to get you through another Winter Storm Jonas or any additional Snowmageddons without breaking the bank.
When the weather is below freezing outside a draft can quickly work against your heating system. If you didn't take time in late fall to go around the house and find any spots where air is getting in, it's not too late. Check windows, doors, plumbing vents, furnace ducts, recessed lights, attic openings, basements, and wiring holes. Any place you feel the breeze, seal it with the correct materials, like caulk, spray foam, and weatherstripping. Remember sealing from the inside is more effective. Also add heavy curtains over your windows if you can't afford to replace older, drafty panes quite yet.
It's hard to turn down the thermostat when your home feels so good toasty warm. Just remember, the Department of Energy tells you for every degree you lower your thermostat your bill will be one percent less. Find other ways to stay warm while taking down the heat a couple notches. Try things like:
Heating water can cost a pretty penny. Make a challenge to everyone in the family to shorten their showers by a few minutes each. If you want to add to your savings, invest in a low flow showerhead.
Your annual budget should always include routine maintenance for your house systems. When systems, like your HVAC or furnace, are working well, it can save you a bundle in energy costs.
Some of the newest thermostats on the market allow you to control the heat of your home from your phone. If you know you're going to be a few hours late, reprogram the thermostat to save energy until you're on the way home.
On sunny winter days open the curtains or blinds over windows with direct sun exposure to let the light in. The sun's natural heat will warm the room, and as the light dims you can close the curtains to hold it in.
It's not the most fun project in the world, but an insulated attic will cut unnecessary heat loss. Talk to the local building department to see what insulation they recommend for your area and the age of your house.
If your fireplace draws cold air from outside, you're going to want to get a pair of airtight doors for your modern insert. Older fireplaces can be reworked as well, but the doors will need vents. Just remember to only keep the vents open when the fireplace is in use. Another solution is a chimney-top damper that stops heat loss.
Making little changes can be an effective way to add up the energy savings. If you're looking for a new house this winter, make sure to contact the team at Old Dominion Realty.