Smart Spending

Winterize Your Home

If you have ever had an energy audit or seen pictures of houses that have had one, you will not be surprised to know that a lot of us own homes that are leaking expensive warmed air. A few simple home maintenance tips to winterize your home can help you save on your heating bills.

Light a Candle
Air leaks in homes can represent as much as a nine-foot square hole in the wall where expensive heated air is escaping.  Stopping these leaks could save you as much as 10% on your heating bill just by performing some simple fixes. On a day when the wind is blowing, light a candle or a stick of incense and check for leaks around windows, recessed lighting, doors, ducts, flues, electrical outlets—in short anywhere air could be escaping.

Caulk and Block
Buying silicone and weather stripping and filling cracks around windows and doors and weather stripping moveable parts will make for big savings on your heating bill. Installing door sweeps under exterior doors blocks exterior air from coming in and heated air from going out.  Installing gaskets on outer wall electrical outlets stops cold air. In short, caulk or block air coming in or going out of anywhere a hole in your wall has previously been made.

Get Your Ducts in a Row
You could be losing as much as 60% of your heated air through your ductwork says the Department of Energy. Obvious fixes any homeowner can do is to look for any disconnections in the ductwork in the attic or basement and reconnect the ductwork with metal-backed tape or aerosol sealant. Do not use traditional duct tape, which tends to deteriorate. Look for dust or black stained areas on the edges of fiberglass showing where air is escaping. After making all connections, sealing all leaks and straightening all kinks in the ductwork, insulate it all with ductwork insulation, particularly in unheated spaces like the attic. (You might want to leave areas with electrical wires to a professional).

Wrap Things Up
Swaddle water heaters and pipes (especially if they are in unheated places, like the garage or basement). If you have not already, insulate your attic and all outside walls. Do not forget to insulate floors over unheated spaces like basements, crawl spaces and garages. Heat lost through floors can account for more energy loss than even windows and doors.

Spend a Penney, Save a Penney
Install storm or thermal windows and doors, if you can, if not, cover your windows with low cost plastic film. Better yet, consider replacing windows and doors with newer more energy efficient versions than the ones you have. Consider investing in money saving advancements like a smart thermostat, low-flow showerhead, and more energy efficient appliances. Of course, one of the best ways to save money is to replace an old heating unit. The savings in utility bills will pay for the cost of the unit in no time and for some units, there are tax savings.

Many of these basic tips for winterizing your home does not take a lot of complicated do it yourself skills—just a little time and effort that could more than pay off in long term savings on your energy bills. Will you save enough money to buy that big screen TV you’ve been eyeing? It’s possible! So get to it.