Winterize Your Home For Energy Savings

Winterize Your Home For Energy SavingsDisturbing fact for the day…..heating and cooling systems in the United States together emit 150 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global climate change. They also generate about 12% of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and 4% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain. (according to the US Dept. of Energy). There has been a real push for more energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources, we can help by following some of the suggestions below. And help our pocketbook at the same time.

Check for Leaks

To check for leaks, on a windy day hold a candle or incense stick close to windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the flame or smoke blows horizontally, then there is a significant leak.

Winterize Your Home For Energy Savings

Doors and Windows: check for leaks and drafts and make sure doors close and seal properly. Apply caulking and weatherstripping if needed. Pliable sealing gaskets on door bottoms will help prevent air escape. Also install interior storm windows which can reduce heat loss by 25-50%. Close curtains and/or shades at night and open them during the day to allow the sunlight in. When purchasing new windows, always look for the “Energy Star” label and have a low U-factor.

Electric Wall Plugs & Switches: these can allow cold air to enter, seal them with pre-cut foam gaskets that behind the switchplate.

Use Magnetic Covers: over kitchen exhaust fans when not in use and over heating vents of rooms not being used on a regular basis.

Fireplace: always close the damper when you don’t have a fire.

Heating ducts: inspect exposed ducts for leaks and have them replaced.

Winterize Your Home For Energy Savings

Check Your Insulation

Attic Insulation: this is particularly important for older homes as energy efficiency standards may not have even existed when the home was built. When you purchase new insulation, take note of the ‘R value’, or Resistance to Heat Flow value.  There are recommended ‘R values’ for insulation. For Michigan, the recommended ‘R values’ are:

Ceiling: R-38

Outside Walls: R-19

Floors Under Unheated Spaces: R-22

There may even be financial incentives to improving your insulation and becoming more energy efficient. Here is a website where you can learn more about Michigan’s incentives: Database For State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Attic Hatch/Door: this is a common place where heat rises and escapes through the roof. Weatherstrip and insulate around this area.

Look for Dirty Spots: this indicates holes where air is leaking in and out. Spray the holes with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose.

Check Your Heating System

Autumn is the perfect time for furnace maintenance, make sure it is running effectively and efficiently before you actually need to use it.

Air Filter Maintenance: Changing your furnace filter monthly is recommended. Some brands will allow 3 months, but check the packaging. Changing this will allow your furnace to not have to work as hard and use more energy. Remember to keep all vents in the home clear of dust and particles.

Replace Older Gas Heating Systems: if it is dated before 1977, if would be wise to replace it. It will save you money in heating bills and you will recover your money on the purchase in a relatively short amount of time as it will reduce gas usage by nearly half. Today’s modern gas furnaces have up to a 97% efficiency rating compared to older gas furnaces which have a 50-60% efficiency rating.

Purchase a Programmable Thermostat: using one can cut costs by 20-75%. It allows you to program it to keep the home cooler when you are sleeping or away from home for regular extended periods of time. It takes less energy to heat a cool home than to consistently maintain a warmer temperature.

Reverse the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans: this allows for warm air to be forced downward. It is particularly effective for tall ceiling areas of the home.

Ensure all Heating Vents are not Blocked: move furniture or objects for better air flow and more even heat distribution.

If you want more in-depth energy saving tips for your home, download this very informative report by the US Dept. of Energy: Energy Savers Booklet

Well I hope this post helps your family to stay a little warmer this winter and save a little on the heating bills. If you found this information helpful, please share the love and leave a comment below or share with your social sites by clicking the twitter, digg or facebook icons above.

Best Regards,
Winterize Your Home For Energy Savings
Winterize Your Home For Energy Savings

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