Mike J. Gold
Taking the time to Winterize your home for the cold winter months can translate into significant energy savings. As energy costs rise, so the cost of heating your home. Now is a perfect time to start winterizing your home agaist the cold weather just around the corner.
Use of weather-stipping and caulking are simple, low-cost and very effective ways to reduce your home's energy usage by up to %15. Use weather-stripping around doors and windows, apply caulk to any cracks or holes that allow heat to escape. Although replacing windows can be expensive, in some cases, newer, more effecient windows can lead to overall energy savings .
The plumbing vents which extend from beneeth the floor to above the roof can be a direct conduit for heat to leave your home if not properly sealed.
Seal electrical outlets with pre-cut foam gaskets to prevent leaks.
Close the fireplace damper when you are not burning a fire in the fireplace
Over time, a home's heating ducts can develop leaks. Foil type ducts can become torn, flattened or crushed. Replace damaged ducts rather than fixing them with duct tape, tape will dry out and become less effective.
Insulation reduces the heat flowing out of your home during the winter months. Ensuring that your home is properly insulated will help your save energy when the temperatures drop.
In older homes, inslutaing the attic can help reduce heat waste. Homes built before modern building codes were instituted often had little or no insulation in the attic.
Insulation's ability to resist heat flow is measured in R values. The hight teh R value, the less effective the insulation is. The corerct R value for your home depends on where you live. Check with local hardware stores to find out the recommended R value for your region.
Since warm air rises it is important to weather-strip and insulate you attic hatch, widow or door.
Seal any duct or plumbing holes between the attic and the interior of the house, likewise seal any holes leading from basements or crawlspaces to the attic.
Autumn is the perfect time to perform routine maintenance on your home's heating system to ensure that it is running efficiently, and effectively during the winter.
Replace your heater's air filter monthly. Since your heater will have to work less hard, it will run more efficiently. Cleaning and removing dust from vents or along baseboard heaters will have the same effect.
If your heating system is old, you might consider updating it. A pre-1977 gas furnace is probably 50 percent to 60 percent efficient today. Modern gas furnaces, on the other hand, achieve efficiency ratings as high as 97 percent. Replacing an old heating system can cut your natural gas use nearly in half!
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 hearing vents are opened and unblocked by furniture or other items. This will ensure that the air is evenly distributed through the home.