The fall and winter seasons bring highly anticipated holidays, coveted pumpkin spice blends, and a festive atmosphere. Unfortunately, they also bring falling temperatures and rising heating bills. Prepare your Charlottesville home for the chilly weather ahead and minimize your heating bill this season with a few smart tips and tricks.
Insulate and Seal Your Home
Cold air can creep in through poorly sealed or insulated ceilings and walls around the home. Do some detective work to find the worst culprits. Investigate the caulk around any pipes or cables that pass through exterior walls. This caulk will crack over time and requires regular touch-ups to stay in prime condition. Lay batt insulation in the attic for a quick fix. Add blow-in insulation to exterior walls that need some extra protection from the cold.
Check your windows and doors for cracks around the trim. Seal these with caulk to keep air out. Add weatherstripping around any movable parts and install a door sweep to the bottom of your door. If you installed weatherstripping previously, check for cracks or damage and replace as needed.
Schedule Fall Maintenance Tasks
A well-maintained home will operate more affordably and efficiently during winter. You should schedule heater maintenance once a year to keep your system in shape. During this tuneup, your HVAC technician will lubricate, tighten, clean, and inspect various parts throughout the unit. He will also alert you to any potential problems so you can make repairs now before you’re left without heat in the winter.
If you have a fireplace, be sure to have it inspected before you use it. This is necessary for safety reasons and to be sure it is cleaned as needed. If you don’t use your fireplace, consider installing a chimney balloon to keep air from escaping through itA.
Update Your Window Drapes
Heavy window drapes are more efficient at keeping cold air out while sealing warm air inside where you want it. Open these drapes during the day to let sunlight stream in and naturally warm your home. Close the drapes as the sun sets, and you’ll enjoy lingering warmth so you can hold off using your heater even for a little while to save energy.
Check the Vents
Check vents throughout the house to make sure that they are open and unobstructed. It’s a common misconception that closing vents to unused rooms will improve energy efficiency. This actually disrupts the air pressure in your home and your energy expenses will actually increase. Leave air vents open throughout the house for optimum energy efficiency, and keep furniture and other obstructions away from these areas.
Seal Drafty Outlets
If you place your hand in front of the electrical outlets on exterior walls of the home, you may notice cold spots or slight drafts around these areas. This is because home builders often neglect to include proper insulation. Remove your outlet covers to see what’s lurking behind. You can seal small gaps with acrylic latex and fill in larger openings with foam sealant. Complete your project with a foam gasket placed over the outlet before you replace the cover.
Set Your Thermostat Correctly
If you have a programmable thermostat, setting it according to your household’s schedule will lead to energy savings throughout the season. Set your thermostat to lower the temperature 10 to 15 degrees at night when you’re sleeping. This will minimize the amount of heat you use while you’re inactive. Add flannel sheets and cozy blankets to your beds, and you may never notice the difference. You can also lower the temperature while you’re away from home during the day for additional savings.
Preventive tasks like these will outfit your home for maximum energy efficiency this fall and winter. Remember that simply adding another layer of clothing in cold weather months can lower the indoor temperatures that you’re comfortable with. To learn more about lowering your energy expenses or to schedule your seasonal maintenance visit, contact W.E. Brown at (434) 295-1177. We can help prepare your furnace for all the challenges of the winter season.
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