Efficiency

Cost-effective tips for a cozy winter

By Miranda Boutelle December 2022

These tried-and-true methods will ensure your home is sealed tight and ready for colder weather

holiday socks with fire in background

Insulating Pipes and Water Heaters

Insulating your home’s water pipes can raise the water temperature by 2 to 4 degrees, allowing you to turn down the heat on your water heater, saving energy and money, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Insulation kits are available at hardware stores. Start by insulating the pipes coming out of your water heater but be careful not to obstruct the pressure relief valve, thermostats or access valves. 

Air Sealing

Air sealing and insulation are a great combination for minimizing home energy use. All the cracks, gaps and holes in a typical home can be like having a window open year-round. Air sealing eliminates those leaks. It can be done as a do-it-yourself project or by a professional.

Window Sealing and Improvements

Windows can be a source of drafts and wasted energy. Close windows tightly. Add weatherstripping around windows to prevent warm air from escaping your home and caulk the gaps where the window trim meets the wall and the window frame. Add curtains to make the room feel warmer.

Fireplace Dampers

A fireplace can draw the warm air out of the house, cooling it down or causing your heating system to use more energy. Your fireplace adds ambience to your home but isn’t necessarily effective at heating it. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, close the damper when your fire is extinguished. An open damper in the winter is an easy exit for the air you paid to heat. Adding tempered glass doors to a wood-burning fireplace can create an extra buffer between the cold outside and a cozy living space. Check the specifications of your unit to ensure safe operation. 

Closing Off Parts of a Home 

If you have a zonal heating system where individual areas are controlled separately, you can close doors and only heat the areas you use. Keep areas with plumbing or water lines warm enough so pipes do not freeze. If you have a central forced-air heating system, leave doors open to all heated areas. Closing doors and/or register dampers forces the system to work harder, uses more energy and can shorten the life of heating equipment. 

Check Your Filters

Maintaining a clean filter in your furnace is one of the best ways to keep it running efficiently and prevent costly repairs. Check your furnace or ductless heat pump filter monthly during peak heating season.

Category: Efficiency

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