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Easy Home Winterization Projects

December 14, 2011 / Posted by in Hints & Tips

Furnace

Filters:  Replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy usage.  Consider a permanent filter.  Electostatic filters are better at controlling the bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen that cause illness and irritation.  Another good choice is a genuine HEPA filter.  Be sure your furnace is in good working order.  Many utility companies or heating/cooling contractors offer free or reduced cost annual checkups by qualified technicians.

Ducts:  Studies show 10% to 30% of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from the duct work.  Hire a professional technician to come out and test your system.  Properly sealed ducts can save the average home up to $140 annually.

Thermostats:  Most households shell out 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling.  For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you’ll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill. Programmable thermostats are available for as little as $50, and the average family will save $180 a year with one.

Insulation:  It is one of the best ways to save energy. It can make a big difference to add more insulation between walls, and make sure your attic insulation is adequate.

Paddle Fans

Counterclockwise rotation is for cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it warmer: air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space – cutting your heating costs as much as 10%.

A/C and Water Lines

Drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes.  If your a/c has a water shutoff valve, turn that off.  Don’t forget to remove any window A/C units to avoid cold drafts all winter.  Make sure any hoses are drained and stowed away. Turn off exterior water spigots.

Water Heater

Many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees F by installers.  By lowering the temperature to 120 degrees F (or lower) would reduce your water heating costs by 6% to 10%.  Pay less for hot water by insulating your pipes and hot water heater.  You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and fasten in place with duct tape.

Storm Doors and Windows

Installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by sealing drafts. Storm windows can make a huge difference when the cold wind starts blowing. It is worth it to get your storm windows installed for the season.

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