It is inevitable, every winter energy prices soar. As a result, your heating bill will take a bigger chunk out of your household budget. That why it is important to check your home to be sure your heating dollars are not being wasted.
Follow these tips to make your home more comfortable and your heating bill in check.
Check for air leaks
Weatherstripping and caulking are the least expensive and most efficient ways to cut down on energy waste.
Improperly sealed homes can waste as much as 15% of homeowners heating budget.
Follow these steps:
* Electrical outlets and switch boxes on exterior walls can allow cold air to seep into your home. Purchase and install pre-cut foam gaskets that fir behind the outlet and switch covers to stop the air penetration.
* Inspect all doors and windows. Install weatherstripping and door sweeps to make sure doors seal properly. Caulk around door frame if needed. Windows are a different challenge.
If your windows are older, chances are they are single pane glass, which offers no insulation value.
Consider purchasing replacement windows with an energy star rating. There may be tax advantages to help you with the costs.If that is not an option, you can apply rolled foam weatherstripping to the bottoms of your sashes to help with the seal. Another option is installing a shrink wrap around your window frame.
This installs on the interior trim and completely seals your window.
* Caulk all duct and pipe penetrations thru your floors and ceilings. Check all your duct work. Leaking joints waste up to 10 percent of your heated air.
Older duct tape can dry out and fall off, opening up splices and connections. Re-tape with a proper aluminum sealing tape.
* Check the damper on your fireplace. Make sure it is closed. An open dumper will act like a wind tunnel, pulling all the warm air up thru the chimney.
* Insulate your attic. In an older home, adding insulation in your attic is the most cost efficient way to cut home heating costs. Before energy saving standards, most older homes have little or no insulation. And because heat rises, you will get the most bang from your buck by insulating the attic.
Check with your local building official, but the standard for insulation is R-38 in the ceiling and R-19 in the walls.
Weatherstrip and insulate your attic hatch.
Check your heating system
*Get your heating unit inspected and maintained every fall.
* Replace your heaters air-filters once a month. Your heating system will work easier, use less energy and last longer. Remove dust from registers and baseboard radiation.
* Reverse ceiling fans.Because heat rises, you want to bring the air back down to floor level, so reversing the fans will push the warm air down. Keep the fan on low speed, you do not want a draft, just circulation.
* Make sure all heating vents are open and unblocked. Your heating system was designed with all the registers placed in pre-determined spots. Closing or blocking a register will throw the balance of your heating distribution off, requiring your unit to run more to compensate.
* Consider changing your old thermostat to a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to automatically lower the temperature when you are away or sleeping, the raise in at a pre-programmed time.
It takes more energy to keep a warm house warm then it does to bring a cool house up to a comfortable temperature.
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