Now that the air really is getting colder, you’ve probably had to turn the heat on at least once. It’s not cheap to heat your house, especially in January and February when temperatures in this area tend to stay cold. Let’s take a look at a few methods you can use to ensure that your house is warm without resulting in an energy bill that sends chills down your spine.
Maintain Your Heating System
We’ll start with one of the most basic strategies. Whether your house is new or old, the system that delivers heat throughout it needs to be in good shape. Don’t find yourself without it on the coldest night of the year (that always seems to be the night that the heat goes out if it’s going to.) Call a technician to come out and perform an annual inspection of your system before winter is in full swing.
Take advantage of ceiling fans
You know that little switch on the side of your ceiling fans that makes them turn the opposite direction? Well, since heat rises, if you flip that switch during the winter months, it will force the warmer air around the ceiling back down to where you are.
Create your own storm windows
Many of the older homes in the area still have single pane windows. The best option to increase the efficiency of your windows is to replace them with new, double-pane windows, but that can be expensive. If it’s not in the budget for this year, go to a local home improvement store and pick up kits with plastic you can put up around your windows. Typically, these kits come with instructions on how to shrink the plastic with a heat source such as a hair dryer to form a tight seal around your windows.
Insulate your Electrical Outlets
Hold your hand up to an electrical outlet on a windy day. If you feel a breeze, you can solve the problem by installing insulating gaskets behind the outlet. Make sure you turn the power off before you do so, and then follow the directions.
Protect Exterior Doors
If you don’t have one, a storm door is worth considering as it will bear the brunt of whatever winter throws at it, keeping your existing door safe from the elements. Another benefit to a storm door, especially if it faces south, is that it can act as an additional window letting the sunlight stream in and provide some natural heat benefits. Even with a storm door in place, however, it always pays off to check around the main door to see if new weatherstripping is needed. If so, choose a quality solution that can handle the weather and traffic.
Seal and Insulate Ducts
Feel along any exposed duct work, especially along seams, for tell tale signs of leaks. On ducts that deliver air, you should feel a breeze or see a napkin flutter. On return ducts, the napkin should suction to any leaks. If you find a leak in your duct work seal it with foil tape, not duct tape, that has a UL-181 label on it. Also, it’s good idea to insulate duct work that travels through un-insulated spaces.
Check Your Fireplace
If you accidentally leave the damper open, your chimney will suck the warm air out almost faster than it can be replaced. Make sure the damper stays closed when the chimney isn’t in use and check the seal on the damper so that it won’t leak even when closed.
When it comes to keeping heat in your home, these tips are just the beginning. What are some solutions you’ve used with success in the past?