Winter is rapidly approaching, and if you want to enjoy maximum efficiency throughout the cold months, make a few preparations before it gets too cold. At that point, you’ll be blasting your heaters, and if your home isn’t ready, your heating will be inefficient and expensive.
Maintaining a comfortable temperature and low utility bills takes planning and forethought. Here are a few things anyone can do to make their home more energy efficient:
1. Caulk Drafty Windows
Finding and sealing air leaks around doors and windows is a great place to start. Otherwise, you’ll feel drafts coming from these places daily, forcing your heating system to work overtime.
Caulk or weather stripping can easily seal most window leaks for winter. However, your house may still be drafty if there’s a problem with your siding or insulation. In that case, caulking is simply a bandage for a larger problem that must be addressed.
2. Fix the Roof
When it comes to winter preparations, a well-maintained roof is vital, particularly if you live in a climate with heavy rain or snow. Snow can build up, causing a roof to collapse. Snow can also cause interior leaks when it melts if there’s a problem with the shingles or flashing.
Roofing problems, even minor ones, can turn into major water disasters if you’re not prepared. Seek roofing services in your area to inspect your roof for damage. Get a few quotes from local roofing providers to make sure you’re getting an accurate estimate on any roof repair or replacement.
3. Maintain the Heating System
Sometime during the fall, schedule a routine maintenance service for your heating system. This will be a busy time of year for HVAC contractors, so contact them well before winter hits.
HVAC maintenance services include cleanings, filter replacements, heat pump tuning or replacement, and ductwork repair. If your heating system is in tip-top shape, you can keep your energy bills low this winter.
4. Fix up Your Fireplace
Wood fireplaces are delightful in the winter. They’re warm, cozy, and can significantly cut your heating bills. But they can also be a hazard. The National Fire Protection Association strongly recommends taking a few key steps to prepare your fireplace for winter:
- Hire a chimney sweep to remove soot and debris and make sure the flue is working properly.
- Check for damage along the structure of the chimney.
- Cap the chimney with a wire-mesh filter to keep birds, squirrels, and moisture out.
- Install a spark guard to prevent embers from shooting out into the room.
If you plan to use your fireplace this winter, taking these steps could potentially save your life.
5. Unblock Air Vents
Your heating system can only heat each room efficiently if the air is allowed to flow freely. Unfortunately, many homeowners opt for style over function, and they place furniture in front of heating vents.
The air can’t flow properly throughout the room, so your heating system has to do extra work. If you want to place your furniture in front of an air vent, at least keep some space between the furnishings and the wall to allow heat to enter the room.
6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
You don’t need your heat blasting while you’re at work eight or more hours per day. However, many people forget to adjust the temperature before leaving for work. A programmable thermostat automates the temperature settings according to when you’re home or away so that you don’t waste electricity.
Many programmable thermostats are also equipped with learning technology, so they can learn your habits. That way, you don’t have to take extra time to change a setting on your thermostat. It will simply adjust it for you.
7. Use Ceiling Fans to Circulate Heat
Did you know there are two settings on your ceiling fan? When the blades spin counter-clockwise, they will push hot air upwards and away from you, perfect for combatting summer heat. When spinning clockwise at a low setting, they will capture heat inside the house to maximize your heater.
Resetting your ceiling fan for the winter is usually as simple as manually pushing the blades in the opposite direction. The fan will reset and spin that way until you manually change it again.
8. Insulate Walls and Ceilings
Insulation is designed with winter in mind, but it deteriorates over time. Inadequate insulation will allow heat to escape, whether your home is old or the insulation was improperly installed.
Have a specialist or contractor check your insulation and make recommendations for repairs. It’s best to do this before winter hits for maximum benefit.
Article Submitted By Community Writer