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Weatherizing Your Home for the Winter

September 29, 2014

The beautiful fall leaves can only mean one thing: WINTER IS COMING.

With energy costs skyrocketing and with the environment to protect, winterizing your home is as important this fall as candy corn and raking leaves!

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few ways to save on your energy bills this fall AND help protect the environment:

1. DRAFTS. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Avoid drafts under doors by simply rolling-up a bath towel and placing along the bottom. Or how about creating one of your own using these simple instructions.

2. WINDOWS. Replace old or broken windows with new energy efficient windows or seal off drafty windows using clear plastic and tape. Or how about this little trick from LIFE HACKER: Simply add bubble wrap to old windows to keep cold air out and the light coming in. This is especially useful for renters!

3. HOT WATER HEATER. Consider blanketing your hot water heater and pipes with fiberglass insulation to conserve energy during the long cold months. If it is time for a hot water heater upgrade, consider purchasing a tankless water heater instead.

4. CEILING FANS. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans from summer to winter to push hot air down from the ceiling and help warm the room.

5. THERMOSTAT. Keeping your thermostat lower in the winter not only saves resources, it saves money as well. Consider wearing an extra layer of clothing (including socks!) or adding an extra blanket to your bed instead of turning-up the thermostat. When upgrading your thermostat, purchase a programmable Energy Star model that automatically lowers the temperature at night and when no one is home.

6. PLANTING TREES.  Consider planting evergreens close to your house or even create a Windbreaker to protect your home in the winter AND summer months! A windbreak can save up to 30% in energy costs.

7. VISIT YOUR LOCAL FEED STORE. Purchase straw bales to place around the foundation of your home. This will block cold air and help keep the floors warmer, especially if you have pier and beam.

8. PREPARE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS.  Install foam insulation gaskets around your electrical outlets and keep the outlets covered when not in use.

9. CHECK FURNITURE PLACEMENT. Be sure no furniture is blocking your vents. This will allow better air flow during the cold winter months and help keep your energy use down.

10. WARM YOUR TOES. Instead of turning the heat up to warm your digits, try adding a little ginger to your socks! Many people swear by this practice. Also, opt for natural fibers like wool or organic cotton when purchasing your socks this winter.

11. CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS. Before the cold of winter hits, be sure to clear all autumn leaves and other debris from gutters. A clean drainage system will help keep water from seeping into your foundation and freezing underground pipes.

12. WINTERIZE YOUR A/C.  Be sure to drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes and check to be sure you don’t have any excess water in any of the equipment. Remove any window air conditioners and store for the winter or be sure they are sealed properly so they don’t allow drafts during the colder months.

 

How do you prepare your home for winter? Share with us in the comments below.
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