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8 Ways to Create a Warm Home While Saving Money
After months of cold weather, colds, and heavy snow storms, New Jersey residents are starting to think seriously about winterization upgrades to their homes. Unfortunately, many winterization projects to warm your home cost thousands of dollars. From improving insulations levels to replacing heating systems, maintaining warm and comfortable levels in the home can be a massive undertaking.
The best way to pinpoint your home’s energy losses is to schedule a home energy audit with a professional. Your auditor will assess the health and safety issues around your home and recommend the best ways to save money on your energy bill. Call Gold Medal Service to save the maximum amount of money on energy-efficient upgrades and federal tax credits and rebates.
8 Ways to Create a Warmer Home
The good news is that you can make significant improvements with minimal effort. Here are 8 energy-saving tips for a warmer, more comfortable home:
- Allow sunlight in. The sun is a great natural heat source for your home. There are many tricks to take advantage of the warm sunshine:
- Plant the right tree in the right place. Deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the winter, are great energy-savers by providing shade in the summer and helping to block brutal winds in the winter. Consider planting evergreen trees to block winter winds, but make sure they aren’t also blocking winter sunshine. Trees aren’t just beautiful energy-savers, they also help the environment by filtering outdoor air and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. For more information on the energy-saving potential of trees, visit arborday.org.
- When the sun is out during the day, even during the cold winter days, open up your shades and blinds to capture as much natural heat as possible. As the sun moves over your home, you will probably want to shut some blinds and open others.
- Conversely, if you have windows that don’t get a lot of sunlight, or if the sun has set, make sure your curtain and drapes are drawn. Curtains, especially heavy insulating ones, help prevent heat loss through your windows.
- Reverse your ceiling fan. Most people know about the cooling properties of ceiling fans, but did you know that they can also make you feel warmer? There is a little switch on the base of your ceiling fan that reverses the direction of the fan blades. This creates an updraft which moves the warmer air near your ceiling down to the lower areas of the home. This may not do much if you have low ceilings, but will make a significant difference in rooms with sloped or high ceilings. Try it yourself! Flip the switch, turn it on its lowest setting, and lower your thermostat to enjoy a warmer home for less money.
- Don’t block or close your vents and registers. You may have heard the energy-saving myth that you can save money by closing off vents and registers in rarely or unused parts of your home. Unfortunately, this can create undue strain on your heating and cooling, raising your energy bills, rather than lowering them. Sometimes, however, vents get accidentally blocked by furniture, rugs, drapes, and other objects in your home. Inspect your home for any registers or vents that may be blocked and remove any obstructions to allow for better airflow and a warmer, more comfortable home.
- Seal your doors and windows. Inspect the caulk and weatherstripping around your doors and windows, which accounts for about 1/4 of your home’s total heat loss. Use an incense stick or single-ply toilet paper to check for air leaks around your home. If the smoke or paper begins moving erratically, you have an air leak that should be sealed. You can also try using a damp hand to see if you feel cold air around the edges of your doors and windows. Also, consider purchasing window film and door snakes to help insulate your home.
- Seal and insulate other parts of your home as well. For a full guide on air sealing and insulating your home, visit energy.gov. Insulate your basement, attic, air ducts, and gaps and cracks around the foundation of your home.
- Cook at home. Baking, boiling, and broiling meals are a great way to fill your home and heart with warmth. In the depths of winter, nothing is better than a hot stew or soup. In addition to providing extra heat for the home, your pasta and soups will also add some much-needed humidity to the dry, winter air. Although you should never use your oven to heat your home, there is nothing preventing you from opening up your oven door when you are finished cooking. Just make sure that the oven is off before you prop it open to heat your home.
- Space heaters can help, but be careful. As a general rule, it is far more expensive to heat your home with space heaters than with a central heating system. If you are in the same part of the home for multiple hours, however, you could end up saving money and feeling warmer by placing a space heater near your body and lowering the thermostat. Unfortunately, there are a lot of electrical shock and fire hazards associated with space heaters, so be extra careful when using them! More than 65,000 fires in the United States are caused by heating equipment, with over a third (21,667) attributed to space heaters. Some space heaters are better than others, so do your research before buying one. Here are some space heater safety tips to follow to make sure you are using them safely:
- Schedule annual tune-ups for your heating and cooling equipment. In addition to changing your air filter every month, it is important to give your heating system a tune-up by a professional once a year. Your HVAC technician will clean and lubricate your system’s parts as well as recommend ways to lower your heating bill. If your furnace or air conditioner is in need of replacement, you can save a lot of money in the long run by replacing it. Think of your HVAC system like a car – it needs to be properly maintained, and replaced when it becomes a money pit. Scheduling annual furnace maintenance also includes a cleaning and full inspection of your unit to make sure there are no troublesome cracks, ventilation issues, or damaged areas.
Gold Medal Service specializes in heating system maintenance, repair, and installations. A well-maintained system saves you money, ensures your manufacturer’s warranty stays in effect, and provides you peace of mind all year long. Sign up for our Membership Plan for regularly scheduled maintenance repairs, big discounts, and more.