Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter
As the cold northern breeze sets in, it is time to start preparing your home for winter. This may seem like a costly affair, but in reality it will save you money. Not only will it save you on the energy you use, but winterizing your home can actually qualify you for several tax credits. In fact, depending on what you do you could receive an estimated $1,500 tax credit. The more you switch to energy efficient home improvements and winterization, the more tax credit you will receive. So it does pay to be green. Here are just a few thing you can do to save money and get a little back from Uncle Sam.
Eliminating Drafty Doors
The US Department of Energy reports that most people waste up to 30% of their energy use due to drafty doors. A simple way to eliminate this is to buy door draft stoppers, also known as door snakes, or make one of these yourself. Not only will this help keep your home warmer, but it will also reduce your utility bill. Consider getting a draft stopper for each door of the house, especially the doors that lead to the outside.
Check Your Windows
Check the caulking on your windows before winter sets in. Worn caulking and weather stripping can cause 30% of your home's heating to literally go out the window. If needed, replace the weather strips and caulking. Especially check the corners of the windows.
By installing storm windows in your home, you will easily save up to 45% on your heating cost this winter. Not only does it help to keep the cold temperatures out, but it will also help prevent drafts when the winter winds blow.
If storm windows aren't in your household allowance, consider putting up plastic to keep the drafts out. You can purchase this by the roll at most hardware stores. Just remember that when you take them down, roll them up and save them for next winter so the plastic doesn't take up space in a landfill.
Another great way to keep the cold weather out is by switching to heaver curtains or drapes. This is another thick barrier to insure your house stays warm at minimal cost.
Insulate Your Pipes
Pipe foam is found at most hardware stores and can be quite helpful during the winter months. Not only will it help prevent your pipes from freezing but they will also help keep the water warm. That is nice when you want to come in from the cold and take a nice warm bath.
Switch Furnace Filters
Furnace filters need to be changed once a month. However, even in changing these filters frequently they still don't trap enough debris. Consider switching to an electrostatic filter. Not only do they work with the furnace but with the air conditioning as well. The best part is not just that these filters trap 88% of dust, debris, bacteria, mold, and other allergens; it is the fact that you will never have to buy another filter again. This means less waste in the local landfill. All you have to do is remove the filter and hose it off or vacuum it every one to three months. These filters run anywhere from $40.00 to $100.00 but are worth every penny.
Check Your Ducts
Have someone come in to not only clean your air ducts but to make sure they are sealed tight. Heated air tends to cool inside the ducts. The more it can retain its heat, the less it will take to heat the room it flows into.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
Most people don't realize that ceiling fans aren't just for keeping cool; most are designed to help heat circulate throughout the room. By turning the switch at the top, the fan will rotate the other way thus keeping the room heated better and save you money on your heating bill.
Watch the Thermostat
Most people like to be toasty warm during the winter months, but over doing it can lead to more energy use. By setting your thermostat no higher than 68-70%°F, you will be able to stay comfortably warm and still be able to save on your heating bill. It is also a good idea to install a programmable thermostat to make it easier to set the exact temperature you want your home heated to. If need be, dress a bit warmer during the winter while inside. The only difference you will notice is the reduction in your heating bill and more money in the bank.
Check Your Home's Insulation
Checking the condition of your home's insulation in the attic or basement is another good idea to winterize your home. According to the US Department of Energy, worn insulation can cause up to 60% of the heat in your home to escape. It is always a good idea to replace any insulation that is worn. Although this may seem costly, in essence you will be saving tons of money on heating costs.
Winterizing your home properly not only saves you money but it is good for the world around us. We will use less energy and therefore less of the world's resources. Staying warm during the winter months isn't half bad either.
© 2014 Linda Sarhan