Weatherization Tips to Keep Warm and Save Money
Winter, you either love it or hate it. While we can argue all day about the good and bad things about winter, everybody can agree that high energy bills are undesirable.
Get out your winter clothes and prepare for the winter weather ahead with these weatherization projects:
1. Seal Air Leaks
This is the time of year when homeowners are starting to notice the large air leaks around their home. While the cold spots in your home could be ghosts sucking up the surrounding heat energy, most likely you have an air leak nearby.
To help identify air leaks around your home, walk around suspected areas with a loose sheet of toilet paper or a lit increase stick and see if the paper or smoke begins to move erratically. If you feel the air on your skin, then you probably have a significant air leak.
Mark areas with painter's tape so you can come back and seal the air leak when you are ready. Once you have marked all the areas of the home where air is leaking, the next step is actually fixing them.
Here are some tips:
- Replace damaged weatherstripping around your doors and windows.
- Use weatherproof caulk for any cracks and gaps that are less than quarter inch.
- Use expandable foam spray for any holes or cracks that are larger than ¼ inch. These large air leaks are usually found outside where wires, pipes, and other utilities enter the home. Homeowners also use expandable foam spray to seal large leaks in the attic and basement.
- Install door sweeps or door snakes to the doors that leak outside to help prevent air leaks that come under the doors.
- If your windows are extremely thin and old, you may want to install storm windows to help insulate your home.
- As a cheaper alternative, you can buy window film from your local hardware store and apply it to your windows for increased insulation.
2. Add Insulation
After you have sealed all of the noticeable air leaks around the home, the next step towards insulating your home is adding insulation, such as loose-fill and foam board insulation.
The two main areas that you want to check are the attic and basement.
You may also want to consider adding insulation to other areas of the home as well, including your plumbing pipes (helps prevent frozen pipes) and your hot water heater (can improve efficiency by 15%).
If you are considering replacing your heating or cooling system soon, it's especially important that you weatherize your home before calling an HVAC company for a quote. By improving your home's energy efficiency, you can qualify for a smaller unit that costs less upfront and uses less energy during the heating and cooling season.
3. Ceiling Fans
Did you know that ceiling fans can help reduce your energy costs in both summer and winter? If you flip the little black switch near the base of your ceiling fans, you can reverse the direction of the blades, which changes the airflow direction upwards.
This supplements your heating system by forcing the warm air near your ceilings down to living spaces below.
If you don't have a programmable thermostat already, then what are you waiting for? If you have a programmable thermostat but don't know how to use it properly,here are some operation tips:
- Save about 10% off your heating and cooling bill by turning the thermostat back 7°-10°F for about 8 hours a day. So, if the members of your household are away during the day, program your thermostat to turn itself back 7°-10°F while away from home, and set it to turn back on about 30 minutes before you get home (programmable thermostats can also be manually adjusted).
- Never set your thermostat to a higher or lower temperature than your target temperature. Many people think that if they raise or lower the thermostat by a lot, this will somehow increase the speed at which your HVAC system works. This is a misconception that should be done away with. No matter what temperature setting you set your thermostat to, the HVAC system will heat or cool your home at the same temperature and rate. The only thing that changes is how long the system will be running to get your home to reach the desired temperature.
- We recommend setting the programmable thermostat to 68°F during winter months, and even lower while away from home (don't set it any lower than 56°F). If you are too cold at 68°F, put on some clothes, like sweaters, thick socks, and hats.
5. Furnace/Heating Tune-Up
Lastly and most importantly, make sure you schedule heating maintenance in the fall before you start relying on your heating system to keep you warm. Hiring a professional to inspect your system will end up paying for itself with all of the energy savings that you receive in return.
Your trained HVAC technician will look at your heating system, inside and out. If there are any dirty components or small parts that needs to be replaced, they'll be able to clean or repair the issue on the spot. The inspection will include safety tests for gas leaks, electrical problems, and potential carbon monoxide dangers.
In addition to cleaning sand safety checks the technician will also be able to tell you any problems that could develop down the road. With preventative maintenance, you'll be able to tell which parts are getting old and require replacement, before it does more damage to the system. If you ignore HVAC problems, they can easily develop into worse problems, including safety, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency deficiencies.
Enjoy the energy savings, comfort increases and peace of mind that comes with scheduling professional heating tune-ups.
To schedule your next home service visit, contact the professionals at Gold Medal Service.
Don't forget to schedule your furnace maintenance in the fall in order to maintain your manufacturer's warranty, extend the lifespan of your system, and prevent a breakdown in the depths of winter.
Give us a call today at(732) 365-3199 or schedule an appointment online. We're available 24/7 to solve all of your home service needs.