Have you lowered the programmable thermostat by 10 degrees when you’re asleep or away from home? Doing so can lower energy use in the winter by around 10%, but you don’t have to turn the temperature down further to keep conserving energy.
Try these five tips to reduce winter energy use without sacrificing comfort.
Put Weather Stripping Around the Doors
One of the easiest ways to reduce winter energy use is adding weather stripping around the doors. Weather stripping is inexpensive, easy to install and effective at preventing cold drafts. You probably already have weather stripping around the doors, but if it’s more than a year or two old there’s a good chance it needs to be replaced. Here’s how to replace your weather stripping:
- Remove the old weather stripping.
- Clean the door jam so there is no glue left.
- Place the new weather stripping in the slot around the door jamb starting at the bottom.
- Once you reach the corner at the top, cut the weather stripping so that it creates a seal all the way up.
- Place the next piece of weather stripping above the door starting at the piece that was just installed.
- Cut the top piece to fit all the way across.
- Finally, install weather stripping on the remaining side of the door, cutting to fit at the very bottom.
Weather stripping should be installed around all exterior doors. If you have a garage connected to the house it’s a good idea to put weather stripping around the garage door as well. It only takes about 10 minutes per door to replace the weather stripping so this DIY energy saver is well worth your time.
Insulate and Seal Air Leaks
Insulating and sealing air leaks is a powerful energy saving combination. Not only does it reduce the amount of cold air that seeps inside, it also helps to control moisture that can reduce energy efficiency.
You’ll want to seal around the entire home, not just the windows and doors. Basically anywhere there’s a crack, crevice or gap that allows air from the outside to get it should be sealed with caulk. This includes around pipes, gaps in the siding and around outlets.
Adding insulation in the attic also helps. You need at least six inches of insulation on the attic floor to prevent cold air from seeping into the heated part of the house. If you do the project yourself the reduction in energy use should quickly offset the cost of the insulation.
Change the Furnace Filter
One of the simplest and cheapest ways to reduce energy use is regularly changing the furnace filter. The filter helps to trap contaminants as the air circulates through the HVAC system. Over time the contaminants build up in the filter and it can restrict airflow. If that happens it will make the furnace work harder to do its job and as a result more energy is used. It could also strain equipment to the point that it becomes damaged or the lifespan is shortened.
Furnace filters should be replaced at least every three months. However, during the winter when the furnace is used more the furnace filter should be changed every month.
Put Your Fans on the Winter Setting
Many people don’t know that most ceiling fans turn in both directions, and one direction is better for the winter. If your fan has a reverse setting switch you can set it to turn the blades clockwise in the winter months. This will create an updraft that pushes the hot air downward to the people below. So instead of cooling people off, it helps warm people up without needing to turn up the temperature on the thermostat.
Adjust Vents Accordingly
Airflow isn’t just an issue with the furnace filters and fans. The vents around your home can also impact energy efficiency in the winter. You can reduce winter energy use by:
- Closing vents in rooms that aren’t being used.
- Keeping the vents clean and free of debris.
- Making sure nothing is in front of the vents.
There are also vents on the outside of the home. You’ll want to seal around these vents to prevent air leaks.
Provider Power is here to help families in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts find reliable fixed rate energy plans this winter. You can find available plans in your area using just your zip code. Try it today to see the current rates!