5 Fall and Winter Home Energy Conservation Tips
Winterizing your home is a multi-step process that usually involves taking down screens, putting up storm windows, and cleaning the fall leaves out of gutters and downspouts before they freeze. But while these activities will certainly help to protect your home during inclement winter weather, they aren’t really enough to offer you the energy-efficiency that will keep you warm and lower your utility bills throughout the long months of this chilly season. However, if you’re looking to conserve energy even as you engineer a toasty home interior, there are other strategies you can try. Here are a few fall and winter energy conservation tips that will give you the warm and comfortable winter hideaway you want without breaking the bank.
- Perform a home energy audit. If you’re looking to make your home more energy-efficient, it’s useful to first become aware of the many areas in your home where energy waste is occurring. A qualified home energy auditor can help you here by completing a whole-home inspection, along with all kinds of tests designed to determine where you’re overspending on energy. A home energy auditor cannot fix the problems causing energy drain in your structure, but you will end up with a comprehensive report that details issues that should be addressed, and in some cases offers advice for how to deal with these energy problems.
- Add weather-stripping. In case you didn’t know, the wooden surfaces in your home can shrink and swell due to temperature and humidity. And when the weather turns cold and dry, this can lead to gaps around windows, doors, and other seams in your home. For this reason you may want to install additional weather-stripping to ensure that your bought air isn’t leaking out. You can find temporary (i.e. stick-on) strips for little expense at most hardware stores, along with more permanent (screw-in) products. And you might also want to get any sealant, caulk, or spray foam needed to seal other cracks around your structure, as recommended.
- Upgrade insulation. Over time your insulation can settle and deteriorate, decreasing the effectiveness of the barrier between the outside climate and your interior air, as well as your home’s overall energy efficiency. It’s easy enough to increase or replace insulation in areas where it’s exposed (like the attic or basement), but it can be a major chore, at major expense, in the rest of your home. If you decide to go through with it, though, you might want to install a new product like spray foam insulation that will seal up cracks and last for years. Just remember, if you’re going to increase air-tightness in your home, you also need to think about boosting ventilation so you get plenty of fresh, breathable air in your space. In the end, you’ll save a lot on your energy bill, helping to recoup your up-front costs.
- Plant a tree line. You might think planting trees around your home is a good way to beat the summer heat thanks to the shade they’ll provide when they reach their full height. And this is true. But if you plant appropriately, you can also use a tree line to protect your home from the worst winter winds, potentially decreasing your demand for energy in the meantime.
- Service your HVAC. There’s almost no better way to keep energy usage in check than to have your HVAC equipment serviced regularly. And by hiring a NATE-Certified technician you can ensure the highest quality of service. This technician will not only clean, inspect, and repair your system, but he/she can let you know when you’re ready for upgrades that will lower your energy draw and help you to save money all winter long.