During the cold winter months, homeowners across the country find it necessary to turn on their heaters to keep warm. You can save energy when heating your home by taking the time to winterize for maximum energy savings.
The end of summer and the beginning of fall is a perfect time to get your home ready for the winter. Use the steps below to help you plan for the winter ahead.
Sealing Air Leaks
Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter can waste a lot of money. One of the quickest dollar-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. You can save as much as 10% on your heating and cooling bill by reducing the air leaks in your home.
Tips for Sealing Air Leaks
- First, test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.
- Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
- Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
- Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
- Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which often indicate holes where air leaks into and out of your house. You can seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.
- Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace them with doublepane windows.
- When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. A chimney is designed specifically for smoke to escape, so until you close it, warm air escapes-24 hours a day!
- For new construction, reduce exterior wall leaks by either installing house wrap, taping the joints of exterior sheathing, or comprehensively caulking and sealing the exterior walls.
Information from U.S. Department of Energy
Check your Heating System
- Have your heating system cleaned and checked once a year by a professional. An efficient heating system can save you money on your gas bill.
- Replace your heater's air filter monthly. Since your heater will have to work less hard, it will save money and energy.
- Clean & remove dust from vents or along baseboard heaters.
- Use your set-back thermostat if you have one. If you don't have one, get one. A set-back thermostat allows you to automatically turn down the heat when you're away at work or when you're sleeping. you can then boost the temperature to a comfortable level when you need it. It takes less energy to warm a cool home than to maintain a warm temperature all day. Using a set-back thermostat can cut heating costs from 20% to 75%.
- Reverse the switch on your ceiling fans so they blow upward. This is especially valuable in high ceiling rooms, where heat that naturally rises is forced back down into the room.
- Make sure all heating vents are opened and unblocked by furniture or other items. This will ensure that the air is evenly distributed through the home.
Check your Homes Insulation
Insulation reduces the heat flowing out of your home during the winter months. Ensuring that your home is properly insulated will help you save energy when the temperatures drop.
- Insulate your attic. In older homes, adding insulation can be the most cost-efficient way to cut home heating costs. Prior to energy efficiency standards, homes were often built with little or no insulation. As a result, large amounts of heat is lost through walls, floors, and ceilings.
- Weatherstrip and insulate your attic hatch or door to prevent warm air from escaping out of the top of your house. Since warm air rises, this type of heat escape is common.
- Seal holes in the attic that lead down into the house, such as open wall tops and duct, plumbing, or electrical runs. Any hole that leads from a basement or crawlspace to an attic is a big energy waster. Cover and seal them with spray foam and rigid foam board if necessary.
For more information, please visit U.S. Department of Energy
Home Warranty of America™
Phone: 1-888-492-7359 or 1-888-325-5143 (CA only)