It is time once again to prepare your home for the chilly months ahead. As winter approaches, take the proper precautions to ensure that your home is properly equipped to handle the dwindling temperatures. There are many things that homeowners can do to save energy and reduce their heat bills in the colder months. Most require little to no investment, do not take much time to complete, and will not sacrifice your comfort.
Useful Winter Energy Saving Tips
Residential heating can account for up to 60 percent of the average home’s energy use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, that does not mean you have to spend significantly more during the winter months to heat your home. By making a few simple lifestyle changes and becoming more aware of your energy use, you can drastically decrease your energy bills, while also doing your part to help the environment. With that being said, be sure to check out these top winter energy saving tips.
Replace or Add Attic Insulation
Adding attic insulation can help cut heat loss, especially in older homes. Start by having an insulation professional evaluate the current insulation in your attic. If there is not a sufficient amount or if the insulation needs to be replaced, consider adding loose-fill or fiberglass batts. At a minimum, most residential homes should use attic insulation between R-22 and R-49. If you are not sure what type of attic insulation is best based on your unique location, check with your local building department. Whether you choose to simply add to your existing insulation or replace it entirely, you will no doubt see an improvement in your energy bills.
Replace Old Windows
Before the winter season begins, call in a window replacement professional to evaluate the condition of the windows in your home. Windows that have cracks or gaps around the frame can easily allow warm air to exit and cold air to enter. In fact, heat loss through windows is responsible for a whopping 25 to 30 percent of residential heating and cooling loss. If you choose to replace your old windows, take the time to find windows that will provide optimal energy efficiency. There are many things to look at when choosing windows such as, frame types, gas fills and spacers, and glass glazing.
Use Quilted Curtains
Keep cool drafts at bay during the winter by using quilted or thermal curtains. Quilted curtains act as a barrier to prevent cool air from entering and warm air from escaping during the cooler months. This helps make your home feel warmer, even while set at a lower temperature. Curtains are an affordable way to reduce your energy bills and take just moments to hang. They can also be found in numerous colors and patterns to complement your home, making them a functional and aesthetically-pleasing option.
Decrease Heat While You are Away
Why would you continue heating your home while you are away at work or plan to be out of the home for at least eight hours? By lowering the temperature in your home 10 to 15 degrees when you leave, you can save energy and reduce your monthly utility bills. Of course, it is easy to forget to turn down the heat when you leave the home. That is why many homeowners are making the switch to programmable thermostats. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature to go up or down at certain times of the day, such as when you are at work or sleeping.
Service Your Heating System
Unless there is a problem, you probably do not give much thought to your heating system. However, maintaining this critical home system is far more important than you think. Your heating system should be serviced at least once a year, preferably in the fall before the heating season arrives. When you hire an HVAC professional to inspect your heating system, he or she will ensure that it is in good working order, will replace air filters, and clean out the heating system if necessary. Having your heating system serviced will also make you aware of any problems so you can address them before winter.
Turn Down Your Water Heater
If you are like most people, you probably never use the water in your home at its peak temperature. Most homeowners have their water heaters set to the highest setting, which means the water is scalding when it comes out of the faucet. There is usually no reason to have your water heater set that high. By turning down your water heater to a warm setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you can save energy throughout the year. If you have small children, you can also reduce the risk of burns from scalding water.
Schedule a Roof Inspection
The condition of your roof plays a major role in your home’s ability to retain heat in the winter. If your roof is old or has suffered damage, you may be allowing heated air into your home to escape through your roof. It is important to have your roof repaired or replaced before winter arrives to prevent major energy loss. Remember, the average roof only lasts between 20 and 30 years. If you are not sure about the current condition of your roof, call in a roofing contractor for a thorough inspection. If damage is found, have it repaired immediately.
Speak To A Roofing Contractor Today
Winter can be rough on your wallet, especially if you live in a climate that is prone to cold temperatures, snow, and ice. Throwing on an extra sweatshirt or blanket is not always enough to keep you comfortable. You may also be concerned about your rising heat bills. While you cannot do anything about the weather outside, you can take the proper measures to safeguard your home from skyrocketing energy bills. Start at the top of your home where air leaks are most likely. Contact the roof repair contractors at Beyond Exteriors today to schedule a free roof or attic insulation evaluation.