During the summer months, you don’t have to worry about keeping heat in your home – all you have to do is open a window if you want warmth. Once the weather turns chilly and the snow begins to fall, however, you’re going to notice drafts around windows and doors, not to mention the rising costs of heating bills.
What can you do to maintain a cozy home interior when the weather outside is frightful? How can you keep utility bills low throughout this snowy, blowy season? Here are a few handy tips to help you regulate your interior temperature even as you reduce home heating bills.
Perform a Home Energy Audit
It’s hard to bandage a wound if you don’t know where it is, so when your home is hemorrhaging money for heating, you need to call the doctor: a home energy auditor. This trained technician will inspect and test your home from top to bottom in search of energy waste, delivering a report that tells you exactly where your bought air is swapping places with the chill air outside. From there you can make necessary repairs and upgrades to improve energy efficiency and home heating.
It’s not uncommon for a home energy audit to reveal leaks around windows, doors, vents, pipes, baseboards, and even the seams of your home. The good news is that it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to fix these issues and make your home more airtight and energy efficient.
Adding or replacing worn weather stripping around windows and doors can do wonders, as can utilizing appropriate sealants to stop air leakage in other areas. If you significantly increase the airtightness of your home, you may have to consider balancing upgrades with additional ventilation, but generally speaking, this won’t apply to simple fixes like weather stripping and sealant.
Another area where many homes suffer heat loss is insulation, and it’s often due to isolative materials that are inadequate, deteriorated, or simply compacted over time. You’re probably not keen to open up walls in order to update (or upgrade) insulation, but since heat rises, you should at least consider adding insulation in the attic, especially in unfinished attic spaces where it’s easy.
Make sure you understand all available options, as well. Batting and fill may be less expensive, but modern products like spray foam insulation could last longer, work better, and provide additional benefits like sealing areas of leakage, helping you kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Program Your Thermostat
Regular HVAC inspection and maintenance is an important part of keeping your home heated while cutting costs for utilities or your home heating oil provider. In order to make the most of your system, however, you need to program your thermostat.
According to the Department of Energy, this means setting the temperature no higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter, and then rolling it back 7-10 degrees during the day while you’re at work. With these programmed settings, you could shave as much as 10% off your heating bill.