Fall seemed to drag on in Wyoming in 2018. Although we’re only a couple weeks into “winter,” we’ve had a generous share of 40 degree days, and over the holidays we had some really enjoyable weather! With that said, we thought it would be beneficial to remind folks to take the time to check on home energy efficiency throughout winter months. We’ve also included some tips & quick fixes that will help in the meantime.
Inspect windows & doors for drafts
Ensure storm windows & doors fit well & replace old weather stripping. Upgrading windows is the best way to invest in your home’s energy efficiency. By buying the best windows you can, you’ll get what you pay for in energy savings.
Insulated garage doors are also beneficial. If your garage is not heated, ensure the door between the garage and home is an exterior door as well. Don’t forget to check dog & cat doors, thresholds, and door sweeps. Cellophane window insulation is a great option for quick-fixes, too.
Service the furnace
At the very least, replace air filters. If your furnace filter is dirty, it has to work harder, expending more energy to keep your home warm. Replace filters monthly during heating months.
Assuming your home is gas-heated, at least in part, it’s a great time to check the level of your propane tank. Many companies offer discounts for propane delivery during warmer months. It may be worth adding a calendar reminder to take advantage of the savings.
Reverse ceiling fans
Running ceiling fans counterclockwise makes it cooler during the summer months. By reversing them so they run clockwise, warm air circulates back down into the room.
Fireplace functionality & flue closure
Check your chimney flue by making sure it closes all the way. You may consider installing glass doors to upgrade your open fireplace. Even better, consider a fireplace insert with a blower. Both options reduce the occurrence of hot air shooting up the chimney.
By installing cast iron plates in the back of your fireplace you can preserve radiant heat.
Hardwoods native to your area burn longer. They will likely take up less space because you need less of it. (Psst! Avoid storing wood against your house to prevent entry of unwanted pests. Also, well-seasoned woods produce less creosote, reducing build-up and the frequency your chimney needs to be swept.)
Pad exposed pipes & insulate your water heater
Heat-loss between your water heater and the faucet is avoidable with pipe insulation. This is especially important on exterior walls. Water heater blankets are an inexpensive option, around $20 at the hardware store. Lowering the tank water temperature will reduce energy costs, even if only a few degrees.
Lay down rugs & put up heavier drapes
Covering chilly floors with rugs and hanging heavy drapes over windows provide extra insulation. Pull out those heavy blankets for easy access and invest in a new pair of slippers!
Perform an energy audit
Here’s a link to a DIY energy audit by Energy.gov. Contact the Residential Energy Services Network for a professional audit.
In some areas, state and/or local municipalities offer incentives for homeowners to subsidize home improvements that support energy conservation. Some utility companies provide similar offerings as well.
The U.S. Department of Energy provides grants to help better home’s insulation and energy savings, too.
Now is a great time to look back at last year’s weather trends and energy bills to compare any changes in costs. Keeping a record of issues you experience throughout the season will help you to be first on the list for repairs and improvements that require a contractor. If issues need to be addressed during the warmer seasons, your spring-cleaning checklist will be simple to prioritize. All the heat escaping from your home is like burning money in a fireplace… Don’t let it go!
Have a tip to add to our list? Send us a message! We’d love to hear from you.