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Tips for Getting Your House Ready for Winter

Here’s a list of helpful suggestion from the California Energy Commission to help you save money:

Energy prices are on the rise across the nation. As a result, heating costs will consume an increasingly larger portion of a household’s energy budget. That’s why it’s important to check your home to insure that your heating dollars aren’t being wasted.

When cold weather approaches, use this checklist of simple ways to make your home more comfortable and keep those escalating energy bills at bay.

Check for Leaks

Weatherstripping and caulking is probably the least expensive, simplest, most effective way to cut down on energy waste in the winter. Improperly sealed homes can waste 10 to 15 percent of the homeowner’s heating dollars. Take these steps:

  1. Check around doors and windows for leaks and drafts. Add weather-stripping and caulk any holes you see that allow heat to escape. Make sure doors seal properly.
  2. If your windows leak really badly, consider replacing them with newer, more efficient ones. Keep in mind, however, that replacing windows can be expensive – it could take you quite awhile to recover your costs from the energy savings alone. But new windows also provide other benefits, such as improved appearance and comfort.
  3. Every duct, wire or pipe that penetrates the wall or ceiling or floor has the potential to waste energy. Plumbing vents can be especially bad, since they begin below the floor and go all the way through the roof. Seal them all with caulking or weather-stripping.
  4. Electric wall plugs and switches can allow cold air in. Purchase simple-to-install, pre-cut foam gaskets that fit behind the switch plate and effectively prevent leaks.
  5. Don’t forget to close the damper on your fireplace. Of course the damper needs to be open if a fire is burning; but if the damper is open when you’re not using the fireplace, your chimney functions as a large open window that draws warm air out of the room and creates a draft. Close that damper – it’s an effective energy-saving tip that costs you nothing!
  6. Examine your house’s heating ducts for leaks. Think of your ductwork as huge hoses, bringing hot air instead of water into your house. Mostly out of sight, ducts can leak for years without you knowing it. They can become torn or crushed and flattened. Old duct tape – the worse thing to use to seal ductwork, by the way – will dry up and fall away over time, allowing junctions and splices to open, spilling heated air into your attic or under the house. It’s wasteful. According to field research performed by the California Energy Commission, you can save roughly 10 percent of your heating bill by preventing leaky ducts.

 

Winter Afternoon by kanelstrand on Flickr

 

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