Spring is just around the corner, but the remaining winter months are cold and pricey. Drafty, inefficient homes hemorrhage heat and waste energy. Matt Lederer, founder of Mahogany Builders, has 10 winterization tips to keep heat in, save money, and get ready for spring, easy enough for any homeowner to complete in an afternoon.
Top Ten Do-It-Yourself Tips for Homeowners in Cold Climates
Spring is just around the corner, but the remaining winter months are cold and pricey. Drafty, inefficient homes hemorrhage heat and waste energy. Matt Lederer, founder of Mahogany Builders, has 10 Tips to keep heat in, save money, and get ready for spring, easy enough for any homeowner to complete in an afternoon.
1. Replace Furnace Filters: Filters collect dust particles, which clog the filter and decrease airflow resulting in less heat. Changes your filters once a month, more often in extremely cold climates. Regularly replacing filters can save up to $60 in heating per year.
2. Keep snow away from critical areas. Snow buildup along the edges of homes will freeze and thaw. Water seeps into foundations. An unpleasant surprise in the spring! Shovel a place for gutters to drain to when they thaw out and dig drainage ditches in the snow for water to drain away from your home.
3. Insulate Overlooked Places: Basements and foundation walls hold a myriad of overlooked energy loss due to improper sealing of dryer vents, pipes and windows. Filling gaps and cracks with expanding foam is a quick and easy way to seal them and prevent heat loss. See: Loews insulation guide.
4. Avoid Mold: After heavy spring rains, examine your attic, crawl spaces and basement floors, walls and corners for damp spots and address any moisture issues right away. Check your bathroom areas for signs of mold and clean surface areas immediately before they become a hazardous and expensive problem. Check ceilings for water damage. Make sure to seal repainted ceilings. More mold information available at: EPA’s Brief Guide to Mold in your home for more information.
5. Insulate your water heater: Insulating your water heater, particularly heaters made before 1992, will reduce the heat lost through the walls of the tank by 25-40 percent. You may want to see our instructions for installing an insulation blanket on an electric water heater.
6. Adjust Vents: Seasonally adjust the venting system. Most vents are coordinated so that they are on the ceiling of one floor and on the floorboards of the one above. Opening baseboard heat vents—and closing ceiling vents—in the winter allows warm air to rise from the floor below.
7. Seal Outlets, Switches, Windows and Doors: Air seeps in through outlets and switches. Add gaskets behind switches to help prevent insulate and prevent cold air from entering. 30% of overall energy consumption is lost through doors and windows. Seal them with gaskets, door sweeps, and stripping to secure closures that prevent heat from escaping. See: Air sealing.
8. Install a New Thermostat: Many older homes have simple analog thermostats that remain at a single temperature. Program your new thermostat to (68°F) when people are home and awake. Drop the temperature to (60°F) when the home is empty and at bedtime, lowering your heating bill by 30%.
9. Clean Your Gutters: Cleaning gutters is vital to the health of your home. Clogged gutters are a breeding ground for Mosquito’s, mold, mildew and algae spores that can easily enter your attic. This can allow biological growths to enter your home. Scoop out debris and run water from the top to bottom of the gutter with a hose. Invest in a gutter cap or screen and scrub out the inside with a gutter brush. See: Gutter Cleaning Guide.
10. Let the Sun In: Sunlight warms rooms naturally with passive solar heating. As the sun goes down, close blinds to retain the heat for as long as possible. South-facing windows receive the most light, so make sure to open those blinds in particular. Save Heat: Heat only the rooms used regularly and turn off vents in the other rooms.
Energy Saving Thoughts:
An energy-smart clothes washer can save more water in one year than one person drinks in an entire lifetime and qualifies you for a tax credit. Check out: http://www.energystar.gov/.
Matt demonstrates energy his saving tips in this video!