Cold Weather Prep
Preparing your Home for the Winter Heating Season. There are a lot of things you and your family can do right now to reduce those heating bills by as much as 20% or more with simple actions that don’t cost too much.
Have Your Heating System Tuned-up Annually
Just like your car, your heating system needs to be tuned-up annually to run at top efficiency and eliminate potential problems.
Wall Outlets & Switch Plates
Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow. You can also use “Safety Plugs” to help prevent draft coming through. Or, “Self-Closing” Outlet Plates to make things even easier.
Check Fireplace for Drafts
If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted.
Seal Air Leaks
You wouldn’t leave a window open all winter long, but small air leaks around windows, doors, pipes, recessed lighting, and electrical outlets can cause an equivalent loss of heat. Sealing air leaks can reduce your heating bills by 10 to 20% and possibly more depending on specific conditions in your home.
Make Sure Your Home is Adequately Insulated
Sufficient insulation in your attic, exterior and basement walls, floors, and crawl spaces can reduce your heating costs by as much as 25%. The Department of Energy has recommendations for insulation; consult their guide if you’re not sure if your home is adequately insulated.
When it’s time to close your windows due to colder weather, lock them as well. This will tightly shut the window seal to avoid cold air from coming through.
Lower Your Thermostat
Every degree you lower the thermostat reduces your fuel costs by about 2%. Keeping your home at 68 degrees in the winter, rather than 73 degrees will typically save about 10% in fuel bills.
If you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable one to save on heating costs. You can set the heat to go lower when sleeping or while at work, but have it rise
just before you wake up or return home.