Ten energy-efficient home fixes to do before snow flies

Prepare your home for the approaching winter season. Stock photo.

REGION – Time again for the leaves to fall along with the temperatures. Time to button up, the house that is. With electrical prices forever on the rise, everyone looks for ways to save over the course of the big chill.

1.     First thing’s first, heat rises. Check your attic to insure full coverage of insulation and replace it as needed. It is recommended to see six inches of insulation above the beams.

2.     Detail your hot water heater for maximum efficiency. Lower the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, any higher is a waste of energy, as most people don’t use water hotter than 120 degrees. Check your water heater to see if it’s insulated. If it isn’t, get yourself a decent water heater blanket. This helps retain heat to the water and not having to continuously have the water heater kicking on to balance the temperature.

3.     Wrap your pipes. Exposed hot water pipes will also leak heat, while wrapping your hot water pipes will keep your water temperature consistent over longer distances.

4.     Consider installing ceiling fans to distribute air throughout the house, modern fans require little energy and will help stabilize the air temperatures evenly through the house.

5.     Clear all the vents of dust and obstruction before turning on the heat.

6.     Replace all air filters. It’s better to be breathing clean, recirculated air to maintain health during the cold months. Heating and cooling units both work more effectively when the air intake is clear and free of debris.

7.     Check your plumbing for any leaks. It’s better to find them now than in January!

8.     Switch your light fixtures to LED and CFL bulbs throughout the house. These light bulbs are best used in places where the lights stay on for prolonged periods of time, like in the kitchen or a porch.

9.     If you have an older home, it’s best to seal those pesky air leaks now while you have the chance. The Department of Energy has a guide to caulking and weather-stripping which is useful to help you through sealing those drafts out for good.

10.  Invest in good window treatments. It might be a pricey proposition, but they provide many uses. They stop light, draft, and sound. Good heavy, drapes not only give you privacy, but they provide a much-needed buffer from cold exterior walls.

For more information about weatherproofing your home, check out these articles: “18 things a new homeowner should do immediately to save money” by Trent Hamm. https://www.thesimpledollar.com/18-things-a-new-homeowner-should-do-immediately-to-save-money/ and “Saving Energy with Curtains” by Emily Lee. http://budgeting.thenest.com/saving-energy-curtains-31390.html

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