August 26, 2016
As summer winds down, the temperatures become a little more tolerable and it truly begins to feel like fall. With cooler temperatures comes the need to protect your home from the elements and keep your home running as energy efficiently as possible. If you didn’t have a chance to get new, energy efficient window replacements by the qualified and friendly staff at Hagen Glass this past summer, don’t worry! We’ve got energy-saving tips to winterize your home and help keep the warm air in and the cool air outside.
Ditch the Drafts
Here’s a really quick and easy tip to winterize your home. Those pesky drafts are more than just a nuisance. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Start simple and adopt that old Great Depression fixture – a draft snake. Draft snakes are something that you can easily make yourself. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door. You can use any scraps of fabric -- even neckties -- and fill with sand or kitty litter for heft.
Change Furnace Filters
It's so easy to forget, but so important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. While this isn’t necessarily a tip for winterizing your home, it’s important maintenance that shouldn’t be neglected. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Here's a worry-saving tip: mark a monthly check on your calendar.
Even better? Consider switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce waste and hassle. Did you know that disposable fiberglass filters only trap about 10 to 40% of debris? Electostatic filters trap around 88%, and are much better at controlling the bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen that cause illness and irritation. While they cost a little more, ($50 to $1,000 or more), they’ll end up saving you money over time. Another good choice is a genuine HEPA filter, which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. HEPA filters are based on Department of Energy standards. But avoid "HEPA-like" filters, which can be vastly less effective.
Run Fans in Reverse
Most people think of fans when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it warmer: air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space. This can cut your heating costs as much as 10%!
Turn Down Your Water Heater
While many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees F by installers, most households don't need that much steam, and end up paying for it. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees F (or lower) would reduce your water heating costs by 6% to 10%.
Install Storm Doors and Windows
The simple act of installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45%, by sealing drafts and reducing air flow. Storm doors also offer greater flexibility for letting light and ventilation enter your home.
Similarly, storm windows can make a huge difference when the cold wind starts blowing. It may be a pain, but it is well worth it to get them out of the shed or attic and install them for the season and a great way to winterize your home.
Mind That Thermostat
It's easy to forget to turn down the heat when you leave the building, but doing so is one of the surest ways to save money. Most households shell out 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling, so why pay for what no one uses?
For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you'll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill. Make it easier with a programmable thermostat; they are widely available for as little as $50, and the average family will save $180 a year with one.
Put Up Some Plastic
For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware or discount store. Don't worry -- properly installed, window plastic is essentially invisible. Adding a buffer against drafts and extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home's ability to hold heat.
Use Caulking and Weatherstriping
Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weatherstripping.
Take a close look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and along the foundation. Use the incense test: carefully (avoiding drapes and other flammables) move a lit stick along walls; where the smoke wavers, you have air sneaking in. And heating or cooling sneaking out.
Winterize your home warm by doing these quick fixes. At Hagen Glass, we can help you design and plan a renovation with new siding and window replacements. Both are investments that will not only keep the cold winter weather out of your home, but raise the value of your home as well. Contact us
today to see how Hagen Glass can help you.
Last Modified: 08/26/2016 11:26:19 am MDT