Energy bills are always higher during the winter. Taking measures in your home to conserve energy and prevent heat loss will keep your electric and gas bills from eating a hole in your wallet. Here are five tips you can use in your home this winter.
Thicken Up the Curtains
We have two large floor-to-ceiling bay windows in our kitchen adjacent to one another. It's an area of our home in which there is great potential for heat loss. We installed blinds in the window openings, as well as tapestry-style fabric curtains we made ourselves. This thicker fabric is great for keeping out the cold. We can pull them back during the day to let in light, and close them in the evening. They also work great for the summer, keeping the heat out.
If you can access your duct work from either the attic or crawl space, check all your connections. Be sure to look for gaps between the trunk line (the biggest tube) and the runs (smaller tubes going to the rooms). Also, be sure the duct work is attached properly to the vent holes. We ran into an issue at my aunt's home, where we discovered the duct work laying opening under her house, not connected to room vents at all. She was heating and cooling her crawl space without getting any air into the house.
Whether to Weatherstrip
Around doors and windows is where most air is lost. A simple way to check for air loss around your door is to look for light when the door is closed. If you can see outside, this is an opportunity for you to add or replace your weatherstripping inside your door jambs. Here's an additional note: When adding a fresh coat of paint to your door and door jamb, never paint the weatherstripping. This will cause it to lose effectiveness.
Reverse the Blades
In rooms where you have a ceiling fan, reverse the blades to turn in a clockwise direction in the winter. There is a switch on the fan directly above the blades. This will cause an updraft so the heat will circulate around the room rather than staying at the ceiling. Remember to switch it back in the summer once you begin to use the air conditioning.
Shut the Front Door!
Every time I see that commercial on TV about cookies, I laugh when they say, "Shut the front door!" It's an exclamation showing excitement for the cookies. It's funny because, any other time it's said, it is usually a reprimand. The easiest, most effective way to prevent heat loss in your home is by keeping the doors shut. We plan to take our door closing issue a step further in the spring by installing an automatic closure to the door entering the house from the garage. There is a hinge closure you can install which replaces the center hinge on your door. It is adjustable -- meaning you can set the pressure on the hinge to control the speed at which the door will close. It's a great gadget to help you prevent energy loss any time of the year.
Using these tips will help your home stay energy efficient during the winter. These tips work just as effectively for the summer too!
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