Winterizing Your Home

    9-26-08WinterizeRGBNone of us want to believe it, but winter is coming quick. November is the perfect time to start winterizing your home to prepare it for winter. Be sure to save on your gas or elect bill as well as preserving the condition of your home to protect your investment by following the tips below.

    Install Storm Doors & Windows – The simple act of installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45%, by reducing air flow. Be sure to check to make sure no drafts are getting through once they are up.

    Check for Drafts – According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Check your windows and doors. Get a draft snake for the bottom of the door or seal the windows with plastic for a quick fix. These drafts can also be giving your thermostat a false reading.

    Change Furnace Filters – Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. In the winter months, filters should be changed once a month. Worse than the energy, you could damage or shorten the lifespan of your furnace resulting in expensive repairs and replacements. Consider switching to a permanent or HEPA filter. Not only will you save time on replacement, but you’ll get 88-99% cleaner air, and possibly a tax credit break. They cost a little more up front, but do so much more for your family. Avoid HEPA-like filters, as they are not as effective.

    Use Your Ceiling Fans – We all know they are great for keeping you cool in the warmer months, but this is actually a great way to save as much as 10% of your heating bill.   By running the fan in reverse it will take the pooling hot air that has risen to the ceiling back down to be redistributed to the rest of the room. Be sure it’s running clockwise to get the heating effect, as counter-clockwise will only give you cool air.

    Prep Your A/C and Water Lines – Drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes, and make sure you don’t have excess water pooled in equipment. If your A/C has a water shutoff valve, go ahead and turn that off. Make sure any hoses are drained and stowed away neatly. Turn off exterior water spigots. This will not only save your equipment, but make things easier for you in the summer.

    Get a Tune Up for your Furnace – Many utilities offer free annual checkups by qualified technicians, but you often have to call early, as HVAC crews get backed up once heating season starts. Some furnace manufacturers and dealers also offer free or discounted inspections. It’s like when you get your car a tune-up. It will work better, longer, and could save you as much as 5% on your heating bill.

    Insulate – Check the walls, attic, and basement to make sure you are covered. Also insulate your pipes. That can help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation. You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and fasten in place with duct tape.

    Seal Ducts – Studies show 10% to 30% of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from ducts. If you find your heating bill is high, it may be worth the cost to bring out a professional to seal up those leaks. Just be sure not to confuse it with a duct cleaning.

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