8 Easy Ways to Winterize Your Home.
You want to keep your family comfortable in the winter, and your heating system helps make that happen. But did you know that heating makes up about 45 percent of total energy use in the typical home? These eight simple winterization tips won’t cost you much, but they will make your home more comfortable and efficient all winter long.
Check your temperature setting. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a one-degree reduction in your standard thermostat setting maintained for eight hours can reduce a home’s energy bill by one percent.
So if you push your thermostat setting down 7 to 10°F during the colder winter months, you can potentially save up to 10 percent on your utility bill.
For economy, start by setting your thermostat at 68°F and adjust it lower at night or when you’re not at home. Or, consider lowering it a degree each week as you acclimate to the colder weather.
Also, look into purchasing a smart thermostat. These allow you to easily adjust settings for when you’re at home, away or sleeping. Smart thermostats also automatically adapt to energysaving temperatures. SWEPCO customers who own or rent a home or apartment can upgrade their existing thermostat to an ENERGY STAR®certified smart thermostat to qualify for a $75 rebate. More information on the program can be found at SWEPCO.com/Save.
Have an HVAC tune-up. Call an HVAC mechanic to make sure your heating system is working efficiently as possible. A qualified professional will inspect and clean your furnace to help ensure efficient performance throughout the season. Plus, annual maintenance extends the life of your system and helps you avoid costly breakdowns.
Check the ducts. As the indoor component to your heating system, ducts may develop leaks, holes and poor connections. In areas you can reach, seal ductwork with mastic or foil tape. Insulate ductwork in unheated areas, such as attics and crawlspaces. Over time, ducts located in the attic that are not adequately sealed can leak as much as 25 percent of heated air into the unconditioned space.
Contact a heating professional if you suspect more severe ductwork problems.
Change your air filter regularly. Dirty air filters restrict airflow, making your system work harder. A clean HVAC system is a waste of money if the filter remails dirty. Replace these regularly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Make use of fans. Be sure to reverse the airflow direction of your ceiling fans. You’ll force warm air to bounce off the ceiling down into the living space where you and your family can enjoy it.
Close the curtains. Unless you have sunlight beaming into your living space, close the curtains and drapes. Doing this is an easy way to create a barrier between the warm air in your home and the cold air outside.
Use visual cues. One of the easiest ways to determine whether warm air is escaping your home is by taking a step outside during freezing weather. Is there frost on the roof? If so, your attic is properly insulated. If you don’t see ice, heated air is likely escaping your home and into your attic, thawing the frost on your roof.
Another visual test to conduct is while your front door is closed. If you see any light coming through the cracks, you’ll need to take a trip to your local home improvement store for weather stripping.
Caulk is excellent for window panes in the frame. Keep in mind that openings around attic joists, electrical outlets and plumbing pipes that enter from outdoors can also lead to significant air leakage. Seal these areas with spray foam insulation.
Understand that various air leaks add up: Conditioned air you’ve paid to heat escapes to the cold. Even more, your heating system will work harder to keep your home comfortable.
Keep the damper closed. If your home has a chimney, be sure you close the damper once the fire has burned out; having it opened when you’re not enjoying a fireside night causes heat loss and drafts.