Winter chills are the reason for high energy bills. Drafty doors and windows, uninsulated spaces and unadjusted thermostats give rise to dramatic spikes in heating costs. Before you turn blue—from the deep freeze or from reviewing your excessively high energy bills—follow these tips to transform your abode into an energy efficient space this winter.
Perform an energy audit. The first important task in your mission to improve the energy efficiency in your home is to hire a utility company to perform an energy audit. Depending on the size of your home, an energy audit can average $150 to $250. Within one to two hours, the auditor will visually inspect your windows, doors, floor space and insulation. Upon completion of the inspection, homeowners will receive a high energy score plus recommendations for improvement. When you make the recommended energy enhancements, the results will repay the homeowner within a decade or less.
While the energy audit offers specific recommendations tailored to your unique home, you can take the following steps to make headway.
Insulate. Insulate. Insulate. The importance of insulation cannot be emphasized enough. In fact, the most frequent recommendation from energy auditors is to add additional insulation. Thick layers of insulation, 12 to 24 inches, will keep your home toasty in the icy temps. Lower your energy bills by insulating spaces like the crawl space, basement and especially the attic.
While insulating your home is advantageous, there are natural ways to invite heat into your home.
Open the curtains. If you have windows that face south, open the blinds or the curtains to let in the warm rays of the sun. An estimated 76 percent of sunlight enters as heat when the rays pass through double pane windows. At night, close the curtains to prevent the nighttime chill from escaping from the cold windows.
When closing the drapes at night, also turn down the thermostat while you sleep.
Adjust the thermostat. Programmable thermostats take the hassle out of reducing and increasing the indoor temperatures. However, if you must manually adjust the temperature, turn down the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees when no one is at home and when everyone is asleep. By making this tiny adjustment, you’ll save 10 percent on heating costs during the entire year.
When folks are at home, set the thermostat to the lowest yet most comfortable setting to reduce your energy bill.
While gazing at the snowfall from your cozy living room, remember that your home’s windows require treatment to be energy efficient all winter.
Treat drafty windows. On average, 30 percent of home heating costs are lost through drafty windows. Numerous methods help reduce the drafts from windows. One way to improve energy efficiency is to adhere heavy duty, clear plastic film over the window frames in the winter. If weatherizing does not improve the drafts, or if you simply prefer added protection from the freezing elements, install insulating drapes along the windows.
Along with treating drafty windows, it is important to seal air leaks.
Seal air leaks. Weather stripping both doors and windows is an effective method for keeping out the cold air and retaining the warm air inside. Among the thousands of weather-stripping products available, here are the most common options:
- Tension seals bridge gaps in doors and windows.
- Felt can be installed along door jambs.
- Foam tape comes in varying thicknesses, making it ideal for irregular sized gaps.
- Door sweeps are available in plastic, aluminum and stainless steel.
While sealing air leaks keeps warm air inside, it’s critical to ensure heat is available in the first place.
Inspect the furnace. An annual inspection and cleaning of the heating system prolongs the life of the unit and helps it run more efficiently. The result is that your home stays heated even in the midst of a bone chilling winter. Plus, a smoothly operating furnace reduces heating expenditures.
Once your furnace undergoes its pre-winter inspection, remember to change the filters.
Replace furnace filters. A clogged filter hinders the furnace’s ability to draw in air, making the furnace work harder which increases the cost to run it at peak performance. Replace the furnace filters once a month or as needed. Remember, if the filter looks dirty, it is.
While you are in the basement changing the furnace filter, address the temperature of the water heater.
Adjust the water heater temperature. Ideally, set the water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This warm temperature will not only save on water heating costs, but will prevent you from scalding yourself whenever you turn on the hot water.
Preparing for the season’s festivities requires a little more than a warm shower and dressing up in a favorite holiday sweater. Holiday lights give winter a warm glow—but they also increase your energy costs.
Decrease lighting costs. LED lights are perfect for adding glitz to the winter season without significantly increasing your home’s energy bills. In comparison to incandescent bulbs, LED lights use far less electricity. Consider that LED lights are safer, sturdier, easy to install and longer lasting—easily enduring for as long as 40 holiday seasons.
When your home undergoes a major winter storm, resulting in massive or even minor damage, contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete. As a professional and experienced storm damage restoration service provider, ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete offers comprehensive services to return your home to its pre-damaged condition.
Services include repair of exterior damage, clearing natural and man-made debris from the property and tarping and board up services to stabilize the home.
In addition to storm damage restoration, ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete provides flood damage restoration services. Home and business owners benefit from the complete extraction of excess water from the premises, cleaning, sanitization of affected property and upholstery cleaning.
ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete serves the Franklin Township, New Jersey, communities of residential homes and businesses. Our technicians are standing by 24 hours a day to respond to emergency calls.