Winterize your Home to Save Energy

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Alliance

Mike J. Gold
Managing Broker
RE/MAX Horizons Group
Office: 303.327.6880
Fax: 303.327.6890
Toll Free: 1.800.626.1419

Visit mikejgold.com

Visit My Community Website ErieNeighbors.com


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.

Comments (2)

Anonymous
mark tyrol

How To Stop Drafts and Save On Energy Bills

  

Imagine leaving a window open all winter long -- the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding pull-down attic stair, a whole house fan, a fireplace or clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day.

Drafts from these often overlooked holes waste energy and cost you big in the form of higher energy bills.

 

Drafts are the largest source of heating and cooling loss in the home. Drafts occur through the small cracks around doors, windows, pipes, etc. Most homeowners are well aware of the benefits that caulk and weather-stripping provide to minimize energy loss and drafts.

But what can you do about drafts from the four largest "holes" in your home -- the folding attic stair, the whole house fan, the fireplace and the clothes dryer? Here are some tips and techniques that can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these holes.

Attic Stairs
When attic stairs are installed, a large hole (approximately 10 square feet) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only a thin, unsealed, sheet of plywood.

Your attic space is ventilated directly to the outdoors. In the winter, the attic space can be very cold, and in the summer it can be very hot. And what is separating your conditioned house from your unconditioned attic? That thin sheet of plywood.

Often a gap can be observed around the perimeter of the attic door. Try this yourself: at night, turn on the attic light and shut the attic stairway door -- do you see any light coming through? If you do, heated and air-conditioned air is leaking out of these large gaps in your home 24-hours a day. This is like leaving a window or skylight open all year ‘round.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an insulated attic stair cover. An attic stair cover seals the stairs, stopping drafts and energy loss. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling.

Whole House Fans and Air Conditioning Vents

Much like attic stairs above, when whole house fans are installed, a large hole (up to 16 square feet or larger) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only the drafty ceiling shutter between you and the outdoors.

 

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a whole house fan shutter seal. Made from white textured flexible insulation, the shutter seal is installed over the ceiling shutter, secured with Velcro, and trimmed to fit. The shutter seal can also be used to seal and insulate air conditioning vents, and is easily removed when desired.

 

Fireplaces

Sixty-five percent, or over 100 million homes, in North America are constructed with wood or gas burning fireplaces. Unfortunately there are negative side effects that the fireplace brings to a home, especially during the winter heating season. Fireplaces are energy losers.

Researchers have studied this to determine the amount of heat loss through a fireplace, and the results are amazing. One research study showed that an open damper on an unused fireplace in a well-insulated house can raise overall heating-energy consumption by 30 percent.

A recent study showed that for many consumers, their heating bills may be more than $500 higher per winter due to the drafts and wasted energy caused by fireplaces.

Why does a home with a fireplace have higher energy bills? Your chimney is an opening that leads directly outdoors -- just like an open window. Even if the damper is shut, it is not air-tight. Glass doors don't stop the drafts either. The fireplace is like a giant straw sucking your expensive heated or air-conditioned air right out of your house!

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a Fireplace Plug to your fireplace. Available from Battic Door, a company known for their energy conservation products, the Fireplace Plug is an inflatable pillow that seals the fireplace damper, eliminating drafts, odors, and noise. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.

Clothes Dryer Exhaust Ducts
In many homes, the room with the clothes dryer is the coldest room in the house. Your clothes dryer is connected to an exhaust duct that is open to the outdoors. In the winter, cold drafts in through the duct, through your dryer and into your house.

Dryer vents use a sheet-metal flapper to try to reduce these drafts. This is very primitive technology that does not provide a positive seal to stop the drafts. Compounding the problem is that over time, lint clogs the flapper valve causing it to stay open.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a dryer vent seal. This will reduce unwanted drafts, and also keeps out pests, bees and rodents. The vent will remain closed unless the dryer is in use. When the dryer is in use, a floating shuttle rises to allow warm air, lint and moisture to escape.

For more information on Battic Door's energy conservation solutions and products for your home, visit www.batticdoor.com or, to request a free catalog, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to P.O. Box 15, Mansfield, MA 02048.

Sep 06, 2008 03:05 PM
#1
Mike Gold
RE/MAX Alliance - Broomfield, CO

Good stuff thanks!

Sep 11, 2008 03:00 AM