For many homeowners, the winter season means paying expensive monthly heating bills or enduring frigid temperatures. However, by taking a few simple steps now, you can mitigate the impact of higher home heating bills and drafty cold temperatures in your home. Described below are six inexpensive things that you can do to keep your home warmer this winter and reduce your home's energy and heating costs.
*Install Window and Door Weatherstripping
Windows and doors, particularly older ones, can be drafty, causing warm air within the home to escape and cold air outside to creep in. Door and window drafts are a major contributor to making your home feel colder and increasing your home heating costs. For just a few dollars and an hour or two of your time, you can install flexible foam weatherstripping along the doorjambs and in any gaps between the windows and window sashes to prevent drafts.
*Install a Programmable Thermostat
Swap out the old manual thermostat with a smart programmable one, such as those made by Nest. The smart programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature in your home to various settings throughout the day, and on different days of the week. Thus, you can keep your home colder during the workdays when no one is home, and then have it automatically shift to a higher setting an hour before you get home. And on the weekends, when you are presumably home, you can have the thermostat set at a higher setting for the entire day. In addition, these "smart" thermostats can be controlled via your smartphone or from another computer or tablet or any device that is connected to the Internet.
*Install Extra Insulation in Your Attic
The attic is a major source of heat loss. Consequently, it is important to ensure that you have sufficient insulation in it. Check your attic to see if it has the proper amount of insulation in it for your region of the country. A properly insulated attic should have at least 9.5 to 12 inches, R-30 to R-38 respectively, of attic insulation in it. If your attic is lacking sufficient insulation, purchase rolls of additional fiberglass insulation and place it over the existing attic insulation.
*Place a Door Sweep Along the Bottom of Your Exterior Doors
If you feel a draft near the bottom of your exterior doors, place a door sweep, or door snake, along the bottom of it to prevent cold drafts from entering the home.
*Have Your Furnace Cleaned and Maintained Regularly
A furnace that doesn't run efficiently will waste fuel and not heat your house as well as it should. Consequently, in the autumn, make sure to have your furnace cleaned and maintained so that it will run efficiently during the cold winter months. Some energy utility providers offer free annual furnace cleanings so check with them first, before calling an HVAC technician to clean your furnace. That one quick phone call could save you $150 or more.
*Replace the Furnace Filter
If you have a hot air heating system, make sure to change the filter every few months. A clogged filter prevents the furnace from working efficiently during the cold winter months.
With these six simple steps, you can ensure a warmer home this coming winter and save serious money on your monthly heating bills.
Mark J. Donovan's website is at http://www.homeadditionplus.com.