As temperatures drop, you might see your energy bill rise. There are many reasons for this: drafty windows, leaky foundations, an open fireplace, etc. Some or all of these problems occur in every home in the country. Luckily, they can be fixed on just about any budget.
Heating your Home
The best way to lower your energy bill in the winter is to adjust how you heat your home. Adjusting the thermostat throughout the day and night is a great way to lower your heating bills. At night, make the temperature a little lower since you can cover up with thicker blankets and your furnace won’t have to work as hard. When you leave your home for extended periods of time, turn the temperature down 10-15 degrees. You can also take advantage of the sun. Keep the blinds on your south-facing windows open during the day so that the sun can naturally heat your home. This will allow you to lower your thermostat and still be comfortable. Also make sure that you get your heating system serviced annually and replace the filter on your furnace at least monthly. If you have ceiling fans, you can rotate them clockwise in order to push the hot air that rises back down to the floor so your heating system won’t have to work as hard to heat the entire room. Consider closing the vents and doors in rooms that you don’t use frequently so that you don’t have to pay to heat those rooms. If you feel so inclined, you can turn the temperature on your thermostat down and wear an extra layer of clothing to stay warm. Using a humidifier will also make your home feel warmer since higher levels of humidity hold on to heat better.
If your windows are older, odds are they’re letting cold air in and warm air out of your home. The framing around them can loosen or rot, creating a cold zone that you can feel but not necessarily locate the source of. The best way to remedy this problem is to hire a professional to assess and fix the problem. If this isn’t an option, you can tightly seal them by taping clear plastic over the entire window. Another option is to use tight-fitting curtains or blinds to help both absorb and seal out the cold air.
If there is a leak around the door jam, it can easily be sealed with weather stripping that sticks to the frame of the door.
A leaky foundation can be just as taxing on your energy bill as a drafty window. The air will primarily enter your home through the spaces around where pipes and wires pass through the foundation. These spaces are generally pretty apparent and can be sealed up with caulk or putty. This will stop the air leak, both into and out of your home, and will save you money on your energy bill because your heating system won’t have to work as hard.
A fireplace can be the cause of a significant hike in your energy bills. It’s possible that the connection between the fireplace and your home isn’t sealed well enough and needs to be fixed with caulk. You should also make sure that the damper is closed whenever the fireplace isn’t in use. Leaving this open is equivalent to leaving a window open all winter long. The warm air from your home will flow right up the chimney and out of your home. If you never use your fireplace, it’s a good idea to have it permanently plugged and sealed to prevent any possibility of leaks or drafts.
It’s important to make sure that your home is properly insulated in order to keep the heat inside and the cold outside. Check out our post about insulation to learn more here.
Following these tips and sealing the leaks in your home will considerably lower your energy bill and make your home more comfortable.