Saving energy is on everyone’s mind as winter approaches. You are not alone if you are looking for how to make your home energy efficient for winter. Heating and cooling are one of the most expensive costs for any household. Reigning in those costs is important to every homeowner. Here is how to make your home energy efficient for winter.
Get Maintenance Done Before the Winter Arrives
Most HVAC services offer maintenance services for your HVAC system. A well-maintained system, whether it is residential heating oil-fueled, electric fuel, or gas-fueled, will be more dependable and energy efficient. If you want to make your home energy efficient for the winter, start by ensuring that your equipment is in top shape and ready for the winter.
Maintenance services for your heating equipment come with several benefits, including:
- Extending the life of your heating equipment
- Making energy efficiency a priority
- Providing the opportunity for early interventions
Heating and cooling maintenance are essential to get more energy efficiency out of your equipment. You can also do your part by changing out filters (if installed) regularly. A little maintenance can go a long way in how to make your home energy efficient for winter.
Replace What You Must Before the Winter
One of the best times to work with an HVAC contractor to replace your old worn-out heating system is before winter. New heating systems are up to 10 x’s more energy efficient than older models, according to the Department of Energy. An Energy Star Rated heating system will help you to conserve energy, save on bills, and have a system that you can depend on for years to come.
If you’ve had HVAC repairs every year for the last three years to keep your system limping along, you are at the point where more repairs are just throwing good money at bad money spent. Replacing heating equipment can save you a lot of money in the long run. Additionally, you will not have to worry about heating repairs.
Before you shake your head ‘no’ to this suggestion, connect with a home heating contractor to learn more about how you can make a new heating system more affordable. Many contractors offer easy financing options that can fit into your budget.
Prepare Your Home for Winter
Winterizing your home can help your heating system to work more efficiently. If you are searching for how to make your home energy efficient for winter, these tips can help you achieve your goal. Here are some things you can do that will increase energy efficiency for your home:
- Check windows and doors for gaps. According to the Department of Energy, 30% of heating loss is attributed to windows and doors. Filling in the gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulk will end the problem.
- Change out your window treatments. Winter window treatments like thermal drapes can help to keep the warmth in and the cold out.
- Insulate your electrical outlets. If you remove the plates that cover your electrical outlets, you will be surprised by the cold draft. You can buy precut insulation for your outlets at any home improvement store for less than $10.
Preparing your home for winter can be an easy answer to how to make your home energy efficient for winter. In about an hour, you can easily make changes that will increase your energy efficiency and improve the comfort of your home.
Look for Air Leaks In the Attic and Basement
It is important to caulk around windows and doors but don’t stop there. Get up in the attic and look for areas that have air leaks. If you can see the light shining outdoors anywhere in your attic, you need to seal that hole. Hot air rises, meaning all that heat you are paying for could be rising right out of your attic. You should also check the basement for the same issue.
Sealing up air leaks and cracks will make your home more energy efficient. Other areas to check include:
- Around baseboards
- Around lighting fixtures
- Around pipes coming into the house
Sealing up air leaks around your home will ensure that heat does not escape. It can make your home more energy efficient in the winter.
Ideally, if you can invest in attic insulation, you should. It can be one of the best ways to make your home more energy efficient. Retrofitting your attic with insulation can improve energy efficiency by 8%.
Insulate Outdoor Pipes and Equipment
If you have outdoor equipment that is part of your heating system (a heat pump), insulating pipes and other parts of the heat pump can help to make your system more efficient. You can purchase precut insulation tubes that slip right over the pipes. They are usually self-sticking. It will take a few minutes to install this insulation.
Be sure not to cover parts reliant on a clear airflow. Don’t stop with your heating equipment. Keep going. If you have pipes coming into your home, insulate them as well. Cover your outdoor spigots.
While adding insulation outside, check out your siding. Are there any gaps around the siding, windows, or doors outside? Are there any repairs that need to be made? Taking the time to weatherize the outside of your home can pay off by leveling up your home’s energy efficiency.
Use Rugs to Cover Hard Floors
Area rugs are a great style element for your home and provide insulation against cold air rising into the room. Area rugs are not only a great answer for making your home more energy efficient but also an answer for adding a touch of style. Area rugs can help keep your feet warm and the chill out of a room.
Thick area rugs provide an added layer of warmth. They keep the cold from radiating from underneath the floor. You can use area rugs in every room of the house and hallways. Think of area rugs as blankets for your floors.
Keep Vents Free and Clear
First, if it has been a while, you should have residential HVAC system cleaning to ensure your system is free and clear of debris that may make it work harder. Next, you should have your vents cleaned. Once everything is cleaned up, be sure that you never cover your vents.
Your heating system depends on free airflow from and to all the vents in your home. Many people think that if you are not using a room, you should close off the vent. HVAC experts disagree. Closing off vents or blocking vents is not how to make your home energy efficient for winter. As a matter of fact, it may have the opposite effect. Covering or closing off vents may make your system work harder, which means your system may use even more energy.
Use Ceiling Fans
If you have ceiling fans setting them to reverse can help to increase energy efficiency. A ceiling fan set to reverse will push the hot air from the ceiling into the room. Using ceiling fans while your heat is running can help your heating system to work more efficiently by circulating the hot air.
Use the reverse button feature on your ceiling fan. Using ceiling fans is an easy answer for how to make your home energy efficient for winter.
Open Your Drapes During the Day
An easy way to maximize energy efficiency during the winter is to open drapes and other window coverings to allow the sun to shine into your home. Radiant sun heat can help warm your house, so your heating system has an easier job of keeping your home warm.
Radiant sun heat can help keep energy costs down. Don’t forget to close the window treatments in the evening hours. You don’t want to let the cold air in the house.
Consider Installing a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats give you more control over your heating and cooling system. You can easily program these thermostats to suit your lifestyle. Many homeowners lower their thermostats during the day when everyone is gone for work or school. For example, if you normally keep your heat at 72 degrees when you are home, dropping it down to 65 degrees while you are away can reduce the amount of energy you use.
Most smart thermostats allow you to control your thermostat from anywhere using your smartphone. If you lower the heat during the hours, you will not be home; you can raise the heat an hour before you get home via your smartphone. According to the Department of Energy, lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees when you are not home can save you up to 10% on your energy bills. Every little bit counts.
Install Storm Doors
One of the answers to how to make your home energy efficient for winter is to install storm doors on every entry door. Storm doors can keep cold air from rushing into your home. These doors will add an insulation layer to your entry doors and help make your home more energy efficient.
Adding storm doors to all your entry points can help to create an additional barrier between your home and the frigid outdoor air. Storm doors are not only a great energy-saving option, but they can boost your home’s value.
Address This Problem to Increase Energy Efficiency
Any appliance that generates heat is an expensive appliance to run. For example, if you are working with an old water heater, that water heater is likely driving up your energy bill. New water heaters are built with energy efficiency in mind. If you want to get your energy use under control year-round, including in the winter, a new water heater may be the right answer.
A local plumber can help you to choose the water heater that delivers the most energy-efficient operation. There are many options available, including highly efficient tankless options. While you do not stop using hot water when the summer comes, replacing your heater is still a good idea if it is 15 years or older. It will improve your energy efficiency this winter and the rest of the year as well.
If replacing your heater is not in the cards, you can make it work more efficiently by insulating it. Insulation can help to reduce energy loss tremendously, especially if your heater is in the garage. You can purchase an insulation blanket that wraps around your heater. It is easy to install and will improve energy efficiency this winter. Insulation for water heaters keeps the heat in which means less energy is used to heat the water.
Depending on your region, it is not unusual to pay thousands of dollars in heating costs each year. Putting some effort into learning how to make your home energy efficient for winter can save you significantly on costs. Most of the tips here are very easy to follow and will profoundly affect your home’s energy efficiency. A multi-layered approach to energy efficiency is the best approach. Why would you pay more for energy bills than you need to? Learn more ways to save and how to make your home energy efficient for winter. Get started today.