Preparing for Winter

Posted on by dbarry

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.

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.

Have Your Heating System Tuned-up Annually

Is it Time to Consider a New Heating System

If your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR-qualified heating system. These models use 6 to 15% less fuel than non-ENERGY STAR systems.

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.

Clean and Unblock Radiators and Baseboards

Dirt, dust, and pet fur all reduce the effectiveness of the radiators and baseboards that distribute heat. Clean these elements regularly and make sure furniture and drapes don’t inhibit the air flow.

Check the Chimney

Closing the chimney and fireplace dampers when not in use will prevent drafts and a loss of heat.

New Windows or Not?

If you want or need new windows, purchasing Energy STAR windows can reduce your heating bills. New windows are expensive, however, and most homeowners can achieve significant savings through less-costly options such as storm windows, plastic sheeting applied to the interior of a window (with a hair dryer), and tight-fitting shades or cellular blinds.

On sunny winter days, open window shades on south-facing windows to maximize solar heat gain. Close these shades after dark to minimize heat loss.

Lock Your Windows

It’s important to lock you windows so they are closed as tight as possible no allowing any cold air in. You’ll be very surprise by what a big impact this small adjustment will make!

Cover the Outlets

Outlets too can be a source to let cold air in. Buy some inexpensive outlet covers to plug in and keep cold air out.

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