Old Man Winter is knocking on our door, and whether we like it or not, we’ll soon be living with cold temperatures, ice and snow.
But the plummeting thermometers don’t necessarily mean a spike in our electric bill. Here are eight tips you can use to take to control your energy usage, save money, and prepare your home for winter:
Tip #1: Insulate. Insulate. Insulate.
The purpose of insulation is to keep the warm air you’ve already paid for in your house, and the cold air out.
To insulate your windows, install bubble wrap or plastic over them, which will let the sunlight in, but protect you from drafts. To insulate your doors, roll up a towel or fill a pouch of fabric with sand. Lay it on the floor against your door to block the cold air that seeps in during the cold winter months. You can also install a storm door on your exterior doors for further insulation.
Don’t forget to check the insulation between your walls, on your attic floor and in your basement ceiling, and add more if needed.
Tip #2: Use Caulking and Weather Stripping
Use caulk to seal the gaps in your windows, or cracks you have in your walls. Inspect any areas of your home where two materials meet – such as the chimney, the wall corners or where pipes or wires exit your walls – and close these tiny openings with caulk. Use weather stripping to seal any openings on your doors.
Tip #3: Inspect Your Furnace and Air filters
Dirty filters restrict the airflow to your home, and require more energy to keep your home comfortable. Change your furnace filters each month, or invest in longer-lasting filters such as the HEPA or electrostatic filters that trap more debris.
Schedule a tune-up for your furnace to be sure it is working order for the season. If your furnace is old or it’s having problems, consider investing in an energy efficient furnace. Over time, it will pay for itself in energy savings.
Tip #4: Reverse Your Ceiling Fan Direction
Switch the direction of your ceiling fans to spin clockwise. This will circulate the warm air near the ceiling into the living space.
Tip #5: Drain Outdoor Hoses & AC Pipes
Winterize the exterior of your home by detaching, draining and storing garden hoses in your garage or basement for the winter. Turn off the water spigots, and remove any window air conditioning units. If your air conditioning unit has a shut off valve, turn that off and drain all the hoses and pipes.
Tip #6: Check your detectors. Early winter is the perfect time of year to test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You’ll also want to inspect your fire extinguishers, and replace them if they are over 10 years old.
Tip #7: Control Your Thermostat
You won’t need the house to be warm when you’re not there, or when you are sleeping under a nice, thick blanket. Turn the thermostat down when you leave, and turn it down before you go to bed. You may want to purchase a programmable thermostat, which can make these adjustments for you.
Tip #8: Layer Up. Save yourself money this winter by keeping your home a little cooler and throwing on a sweater. A light sweater will give you 2 degrees of warmth, and a heavy sweater will give you 4 degrees of warmth.
All of us at Rivers Insurance Group wish you a safe, warm and healthy winter. Contact us if you have any questions about winterizing your home, or need assistance with your home, health, life or auto insurance needs.