07 Nov Prepare Your Home for Winter | 15 Steps
Save money and remain cozy throughout winter by acting before the bitter cold arrives.
Change Furnace Filters
It’s important to replace or clean your furnace filter once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Consider switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce waste and hassle. Disposable fiberglass filters only trap around 10 to 40% of debris so consider an electrostatic filter which can trap up to 88%. Another good choice is a genuine HEPA filter, which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. HEPA filters are based on Department of Energy standards.
Run Fans in Reverse
Most people think of fans only when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes, while switching to clockwise makes it warmer. Air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space—cutting your heating costs.
Winterize Water Lines
Drain 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.Similarly, make sure hoses are drained, stowed away and turn off exterior water spigots. It’s also a good idea to seal any water leaks —and don’t forget to remove any window A/C units so you don’t invite cold drafts all winter long.
Turn Down the Water Heater
While many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, most households don’t need that much steam, and end up paying for it—in dollars. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees or lower could reduce your water heating costs by 10%.
Drafts can waste 5 to 30% of your energy use. Start simple and adopt the draft snake, which you can easily make yourself. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door and make sure drafts aren’t giving your thermostat a false reading.
Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5% of heating costs.The good news is many utilities companies offer free checkups—but you often must call early, as HVAC crews get backed up once heating season starts. Some furnace manufacturers and dealers also offer free or discounted inspections.
Mind the Thermostat
It’s easy to forget to turn down the heat when you leave, but doing so is one of the surest ways to save money. Most households shell out 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling.
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.
Put Up Plastic
For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware or discount store. Don’t worry, properly installed window plastic is essentially invisible. Adding a buffer against drafts and extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home’s ability to hold heat.
Use an Energy Monitor
Measure your way to savings with an energy monitor. Such a device indicates household electrical usage in real time and projects your monthly bill. Research has found that such info leads consumers to reduce their electricity consumption significantly.
See how My Energy IQ™ can help you change how you use energy @ https://www.enmax.com/home/electricity-and-natural-gas/my-energy-iq
Add Caulking and Weather-stripping
Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5 to 30% a year, that means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weather-stripping.
Take a close look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit, and along the foundation. Use the incense test: Carefully move a lit stick along walls. Where the smoke wavers, you have air sneaking in, and heating or cooling sneaking out.
Insulation is one of the best ways to save energy and money at home. It can make a big difference to add more insulation between walls, and make sure your attic floor and basement ceiling are well covered.
Put on a Sweater
A light long-sleeved sweater is worth about 2 degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater can add about 4 degrees.
Pay less for hot water by insulating your pipes. This can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and fasten in place with duct tape.
Seal Those Ducts
Moving even deeper into a home’s infrastructure, and one encounters the duct work. Studies show 10 to 30% of heated air in an average system escapes from the ducts.Therefore, pay to hire a professional technician to come out and test your duct system and fix any problems. Properly sealing ducts can save the average home big bucks you’ll have better protection against mold and dust.
Upgrade to an Efficient Furnace
Thankfully, it’s not something you have to do every year , but if your furnace is old you could save a lot of money in the long run and improve your home’s value by upgrading to a newer unit.