8 Tips For an Energy Efficient Home This Winter
When the winter months set in and temperatures drop to what feels like below freezing, we homeowners are grateful to have a roof over our heads. A comfortable, safe, and warm home comes at a price though–that price, of course, being high utility bills. (A cost associated with owning a home often forgotten when buying).
Fortunately, there are a few steps every homeowner can take for an energy efficient home and cheaper utility bills this winter. Stick with us, we’ve got your back (and your wallet) covered.
When you’re finished with this list, be sure to check out our Fall To-Do Fist For Southern Homeowners to further prep your home for the winter season.
1. Perform an energy audit on your home
Not familiar with what an energy audit is? A home energy audit (sometimes called a home energy assessment) will give you an idea of how much energy your home consumes and identify specific things you should do to make your home more energy efficient.
While we’ve provided a general list of tips to achieve energy efficiency in the home this winter, an energy audit will allow you to focus on the exact areas of energy loss in your home.
2. Let the sunshine in
Pull back the curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to take advantage of the heat from the sun. While outdoor temps may be on the chilly side, the sun’s rays often shine strong enough to warm a home! The less you rely on your heating system to heat your home, the less energy you’ll consume overall.
Don’t forget to close them back up when the sun goes down for the day and your curtains help to insulate your home!
3. Seal off drafty windows and doors
We bet you could probably pinpoint a few drafty windows or doors in your home. The fall is a good time to seal them off! Try applying new weather stripping or taping a clear plastic film around windows and inserting door sweeps. This should help seal your home’s windows and doors.
Truth is, you’re likely bumping your thermostat up to compensate for the cool air those windows and doors are letting in and the heat they’re letting out. Unless you’re willing to hand over your entire paycheck to your electric or gas company, don’t force your heating system to work any harder than it has to.
Drafty windows and doors tend to be more common in older homes but aren’t completely uncommon in settling new homes. See more pros and cons when it comes to owning an old home versus a new home.
4. Maintain a well working, efficient heating system
Your home’s HVAC/ heating system is one of (if not) the most important systems in your entire home. Without some type of heating system in the dead of winter, your home would be unlivable.
If you recently bought/ moved into your home, any issues with regards to the home’s HVAC, ventilation, or insulation will be found during the inspection.
To ensure your HVAC/ heating system continues to do its job, lives a long life, and works safely and efficiently–schedule a maintenance tune-up or cleaning of your system. You’d rather prevent or learn about any possible issues with your heating before it’s too late (and too cold).
One thing you may have forgotten to do, but can actually make a big difference in the way your system runs, is to replace your system’s filters every season!
5. Know when to adjust your thermostat and when to leave it alone
It’s simple. When you’re home and awake, set your thermostat to a temperature you are comfortable at (The average household keeps their thermostat between 68°-70° Fahrenheit in the winter). When you leave the house or go to bed for the evening, turn it down 5°-10°.
Have you looked into a programmable thermostat? It’s a great piece of technology that gives you more control over your home’s thermostat. Some even allow you to adjust your homes temperature when you’re not home!
6. Identify other sources of lost heat
In addition to windows and doors, there are various other areas of your home where heat has the potential to leave your home.
Look into ways to effectively seal or insulate the following areas of your home. Keep in mind, one technique might not fit all. For example, when it comes to aspects of your fireplace and chimney you’ll need to use a high-temperature caulking.
Poorly insulated attics, crawl spaces, closets, basements, etc.
Garages/ open garage doors
Heating/ cooling ducts
Areas where plumbing stacks, electrical wires, vents, and ducts enter the home
Know that any areas of your home that require repair or renovation won’t just help you save long term on your energy bills, they might also add to the value of your home–especially when it comes to attic and windows.
7. Decorate with LED lights for the holidays
Consider switching to LED holiday lights. LED lights use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than old, incandescent lights. In addition to consuming less energy, LED lights don’t emit as much heat and are more resistant to breakage, making them safer than other lights. Try putting your holiday lights on a timer to control what time of day they go on and off–rather than leaving them on all night.
8. Build a fire and get cozy
Own a house with a fireplace? The winter months are likely the only opportunity you’ll have to use it. Building a fire in your home’s fireplace is relatively easy and uses wood to heat up your home instead of gas–energy saver! So, bundle up in your comfiest clothes, wrap yourself up in a blanket, light a few fall scented candles, mix up some hot cocoa, and get cozy.
What do you think? Can you get going on a few of these tasks for an energy efficient home this winter? We’re sure you’ll be pleased with how much less energy you consume and how much more you have in your wallet.
Looking to buy a home over the next couple of months? Let your Realtor know a home that is energy efficient is a top priority. Use our Home Buyer’s 101 Guide to The Top Questions Your Realtor Will Ask to help your Realtor gain insight into what you’re looking for in your new home.