Money Saving Tips to Winterize Your Home
It’s winter again, and that means higher utility bills. If you’d like to save some money this cold season you should check out these home winterizing tips.
Get a “Smart Thermostat”
Believe us when we say you are going to save a significant amount of money by purchasing a programmable electronic thermostat if you still have one of those older rotary dial thermostats in your house or apartment. You can get one for as low as $20.00 (more expensive ones come with more bells and whistles, such as access to the web, and the ability to program it with your smartphone. These are certainly convenient, but will not necessarily save you money over an underlying model electronic thermostat).
For those who are shy about Do-it-yourself projects at home, this is one of the simpler ones since the new thermostat will hook up to the electrical leads attached to your old one (please follow all recommended safety precautions in the owner’s manual when following installation guides, we cannot stress this enough).
If you are renting, check with your landlord about purchasing and installing a smart thermostat; most reasonable owners will realize this is a better value for them as well. Smart thermostats can be programmed to engage the heating system during certain times of the day and shut off or lower the interior temperature during times when you don’t need it, such as when you’re out of the house or sleeping. Some estimates say you can save up to $180.00 over the course of the winter, and if you have a central air system, then a programmable thermostat will help you save money so you have to apply for title loans in Las Vegas to pay your cooling bills.
Gaps in windows – and to a lesser extent doors – are the number one source of air “leakage” in a home or apartment. Leakage is a term that describes unintended air flow, and in the winter months, that can mean cold drafts that cause the heating system to come on unnecessarily. When some people think of drafts, they think of a steady breeze coming through a gap in the window, but even a small fissure beneath a door or window can allow cold air to seep into a home without being felt.
The simplest way to check for leaks is the hand test. Turn on one of your bathroom fans in the house during a chilly day and start feeling around any gaps you see around your windows or doors. If you feel cold air coming in, a low-cost, easy-to-install rubber strip on the bottom of your door, or an inexpensive can of sealing caulk will help stop or significantly reduce the cold air inflow.
To check for smaller leaks, turn on your bathroom fan once again and light up an incense stick (no, we’re not kidding, just make sure you pick a smell you don’t mind), and hold it in front any place you might think there is a gap. If the smoke is drawn steadily toward the interior of your house, that’s a potential leak.
Check Your Insulation
Attics are a prime source of cold air. If you haven’t inspected your insulation in a few years, then it’s time to do so. Insulation is kind of like that lost sock in the laundry or the lost remote for the TV, and somehow it manages to bunch up or become displaced. Many times the insulation on the underside of the roof will eventually pull away from its fasteners. A few staples will remedy this situation and save you some money.
Seal the Chimney
A lot of people don’t use the fireplaces in their homes anymore, but assume that closing the flue will solve the problem of cold air coming down the chimney. But have you checked the area around your fireplace, even when the flue is closed? Chances are you’ll still feel a draft.
You can put a temporary seal on your chimney with some heavy duty plastic and sealant either from the ground level, just at the point where your chimney begins, or up on the roof (please use all safety precautions). If you choose the roof option, make sure you seal the chimney just below the inside top, and not around the outside where the weather can get at it.
Change Your Filter
Most filters on central heating systems can be purchased for under $20.00, and while many people inspect them, even the smallest layer of dust and debris can inhibit air flow. Freer flowing air means less time the heater is on which translates to savings on your utility bill and you won’t need to apply for a Nevada title loan to pay off heat bill.
Insulate Your Pipes
You’d be surprised how much energy is wasted from exposed copper pipes under the house, or even in the water heater closet. Water that sits in those pipes will always cool off, but insulating those pipes will slow the process and make your water heater work less. Speaking of water heaters…
Turn down the Hot Water
Check the setting on your water heater. Most manufacturers pre-set water heaters to 140 degrees. You can still get decent hot water if you set it to 120 degrees which, again, will make your water heater come on less often and save you money on the utility bill.