We’re officially two weeks into the 2015-2016 winter season and so far, the south has stayed quite warm. Right now as I look outside my office window here at DanRic Homes, I see a pretty typical gloomy winter sky with a temperature around 63 degrees, not too shabby for January. However, this year we are in the midst of El Nino, which of course means that we are to expect the unexpected in terms of weather conditions. So while right now it might not seem like Winter is Coming, John Snow, the smarter folks at the Weather Channel say we need to start preparing for the cold. So today I am going to share some helpful tips for winterizing your home, saving money and being prepared for whatever the winter might throw your way!
- Be a draft dodger. No, I’m not getting political. I’m talking drafts around doors and windows. Those are the drafts you need to avoid. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average American spends $2,000 paying for energy annually, $200 to $400 could be going to waste from drafts, air leaks around openings, and outdated heating and cooling systems. In order to avoid this, seal the gaps around floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, and fireplaces with caulk, spray foam, and weather stripping. The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year, and the home is generally much more comfortable afterward.
- Change your air filters. I cannot stress this enough. One of the biggest energy busters and HVAC problem inducers is forgetting to change the air filter on your HVAC unit. This is a home owner maintenance item that should be done monthly to ensure your unit is running efficiently. Have trouble remembering to change your filter? Try changing it on the day you receive your utility bill in the mail each month!
- Reverse your ceiling fans. During winter, the warm air generated by your heating system naturally rises to the ceiling while cooler air sinks. By switching the direction that your fan blades turn, that cooler air is drawn upwards, which forces the warmer air near the ceiling back down into the space, which can save up to 10% on your heating bill!
- Have your HVAC serviced. Keeping your unit clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5% of heating costs.
- Clean your gutters. Do it now, while it’s still warm! Making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat The US Department of Energy says you can save as much as 1% on your energy bill for every degree you lower your home’s temperature during the winter. Install a programmable thermostat and save money by keeping the temp down when you’re not at home.
Follow the tips above to save more money and stay warmer this winter.