by Melanie Stewart
With a little taste of cold weather last week, we are reminded that it’s not too late to make simple, inexpensive changes that can keep you comfortable this winter. With almost 50% of your total energy bill going to heating, it can save you a lot of money too! LiveGreen has plenty of tips below, including “how to” videos.
Stop cold air from getting in:
- Install storm doors and windows, making sure they close securely.
- Remove window A/C units or cover them, sealing the edges to the window frame.
- Caulk gaps on the exterior between window frames and siding, as well as the frame around your attic. Plug all holes and caulk all gaps where different building materials meet – along the foundation and where chimneys, pipes and wires enter the home.
- Close the damper on your fireplace when you’re not using it or use a chimney balloon.
- Weatherstrip windows and exterior doors and adjust or replace door sweeps.
- Put draft snakes or rolled up towels against doors and on window sills.
- Insulate electrical boxes that house outlets and switches in exterior walls with pre-cut foam gaskets.
- Put window plastic over leaky windows.
Keep the warm air in:
- Add insulation to your walls and attic.
- Insulate exposed hot water pipes.
- Insulate the basement rim joist that separates the frame of your house from the foundation
- Seal duct work with duct sealing tape or mastic.
Use less energy:
- Run ceiling fans clockwise to circulate warmer air down into the living space.
- Clean or replace furnace filters regularly. This increases efficiency while extending the life of the unit.
- Open and clean vents in rooms you use; close vents in unused rooms.
- Get a programmable thermostat and turn the heat down when you leave the house and when you sleep.
- Set your thermostat as low as you comfortably can when you’re home; wear an extra layer or grab a blanket.
- Turn down the water heater. Lowering the temperature to 120° F can reduce your water heating costs 6% -10%.
- Check out this Fall Home Maintenance Checklist.
- Prevent Pipes from Freezing.
- Check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for rebates and incentives if you’re adding insulation, replacing the furnace or water heater, or planning any other ‘big’ project.