Ten Easy Ways To Save Green This Winter

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Townside

Make A Difference It's the winter time - duh, it's cold outside - and many folks are looking for inexpensive ways to save dollars AND energy in their homes.  I came across this list from GreenCville.com and thought I'd repost it (italics are mine):

  1. Seal duct work - this is the number one way to conserve energy during the winter.  Duct work can leak heated air into the attic or crawl space if all the joints and intersections are not sealed with foil-backed tape or silicone caulking. (which is another reason Mt. Tabor Meadows is so unique)
  2. Seal air leaks to attic - seal all holes from pipes and wires that run in and out of the living space.  This includes light fixtures, pipes, wires, attic stair openings.
  3. Seal fireplaces - never use a fireplace as a heat source for your home.  Even as a supplemental heat source, the cold air introduced to a warm home through an open flue isn't as efficient as sealing off a fireplace and using the primary heat source.  For natural gas fireplaces, turn off the pilot light when not in use.
  4. Lower thermostat - in the winter, set the thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees during the day and to 58 degrees at night or when away from home for several hours.  Keeping the temperature at 70 degrees is recommended for homes where there are elderly or infants. (this can be hard to maintain in homes that take a long time to heat - a programmable thermostat might help as it allows the home to begin heating at a prespecified time of day)
  5. Lower water heater to 120-125 degrees - many water heaters are automatically set at 140 degrees.  Lowering the temperature on your water heater will reduce the amount of fuel needed to heat the water.
  6. Change furnace filters every month - This is the number one reason for furnace breakdowns.  Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually.  Have a professional check and clean furnaces once a year.
  7. Weatherstrip doors and windows - inspect doors and windows for air leaks.  If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then it needs sealing.  Air leaks can be sealed with caulking or weather stripping.
  8. Insulate water pipes coming from the water heater - insulate the first three to six feet of cold and hot water pipes near the water heater.  Insulating all hot water pipes is not necessary if pipes are loDog in a blanket-1 cated in an attic or crawlspace.
  9. Add an insulation blanket to your water heater - wrapping the water heater with an insulation blanket can save heating money by slowing the drop in temperature from the hot water tank as it sits unused.  Inexpensive insulation kits are available at most home improvement stores.
  10. Add insulation to attic - when adding insulation, start at the top and word down only after eliminating air infiltration. (I've had clients do this and it drastically reduced their heating and cooling bills)

What are YOU doing to save money on energy costs this winter?

Comments (5)

Bruce Thomas
A-Z Tech Home Inspections, Inc. - Greensburg, PA


Your post is excellent.  Since you mention air sealing so often, let me also address it.  Your home should have about 2 air changes per hour.  The average home has 10.

OK so what is an air change?  An air change is when ALL of the air leaves the home and air from outside come in to replace it.

I know it's hard to belive but it happens in every home, otherwise it's unhealthy.  So what is happening in the average home is we are heating new air ten times every hour.

Anything you can do to reduce that will definitely save you money.

Dec 04, 2008 10:49 AM
Jeremy Hart
Coldwell Banker Townside - Blacksburg, VA

Bruce - I've heard of air changes in applications like restaurants, where high-exhaust systems must be installed to replace the air on a regular basis but I've not heard of that in the home.  How does one reduce that number?

Dec 05, 2008 12:48 AM
Bruce Thomas
A-Z Tech Home Inspections, Inc. - Greensburg, PA


You start by doing exactly what your post says.  This all depends on your home.  After you seal everything you can think of, you have a professional energy audit using a blower door.  A blower door is a device with a calibrated fan and instruments that can determine how many air changes per hour your home has.  The auditor should also give you a report that will outline in order of cost / benifit, what additional steps you should take to further reduce your energy consumption.

As you may imagine there is a lot more to it but this is a start.

Hope that helps.

Dec 05, 2008 01:11 AM
Jeremy Hart
Coldwell Banker Townside - Blacksburg, VA

Okay, a blower door test.  I'm familiar with that, thanks Bruce!

Dec 05, 2008 01:30 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

How about... sell that house and move to a warm place like Maui?  No heating needed here.

Dec 06, 2008 12:07 PM