Winter will soon be in Hampton Roads! It’s not too late to help keep your home warm and energy efficient. While some of the best things to do are increase insulation, replace windows, and upgrade appliances to energy efficient appliances. Here are five things you can do today to help winterize your home.
1. Stop Drafts
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. According to Popular Mechanics, start simple and adopt that old Great Depression fixture — the draft snake, which you can easily make yourself. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or make a more attractive DIY draft snake with googly eyes, felt tongues and the like. You can use any scraps of fabric — even neckties — and fill with sand or kitty litter for heft.
Make sure drafts aren’t giving your thermostat a false reading too.
2. Understand Your Thermostats
Most households shell out 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling, so why pay for what no one uses? Try to turn down the thermostat when you leave to save energy cost.
For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you’ll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill. Make it easier with a programmable thermostat; they are widely available for as little as $50, and the average family will save $180 a year with one. We also love the Nest and have written about it before – you can program and check it with your smart phone.
3. Change Air Filters
This should be a monthly chore, and one that could net you some good savings and allows your heating unit to work at it’s full capacity. Mark the date on the calendar so you always remember to change or clean the filters.
4. Run Your Ceiling Fans in Reverse
This is one of those, “why didn’t I think of that?” Many ceiling fans have a switch that will allow the blades to turn in the opposite way, and if we remember from science class heat rises. So when you switch the fan’s rotation it helps keep hot air closer to the ground. This is really good for homes with very high ceilings. According to Popular Mechanics doing this can cut as much as 10% of your heating costs.
5. Install Window Insulation
If you can operate a hairdryer you can add a great buffer against drafts and cold weather, letting your home boost it’s heating power. You can pick up window insulation kits at any local hardware store and when installed correctly are practically invisible.
Here’s a how-to-video
Bonus Tip: Wear Sweaters
Each degree of your thermostat costs money so it pays to bundle up. Sweaters, blankets, hot chocolate. Stay warm by keeping covered up at home.