It’s almost that time of the year when we turn up the heat and stand by to battle the frigid winter temperatures ahead of us. But did you know that there are actually more eco-friendly ways to winterize your home, so that you can enjoy a warm house without a sky high energy bill?
Try these 10 simple tips to get your eco-friendly home ready for winter, and you’ll increase your energy efficiency and keep your heating bills to a minimum. What could be better?
1. Buy a water heater blanket
Insulating water heater tanks can end up reducing standby heat loss, as well as your water heating costs. This is especially helpful if your water heater is located in an area that gets cold in the winter, such as a basement.
2. Hang insulated curtains
Invest in insulated or thermal curtains to improve energy efficiency in your home. These heavier window treatments work to keep out the cold while trapping heat inside, thus keeping your home warmer without having to blast the heat.
3. Use draft stoppers
You can also add draft stoppers to your exterior doors, as well as interior doors that you do not use during the winter. These snake-like contraptions are very easy to make, and will help to prevent unwanted cold air from leaking through the bottom of the door.
4. Tune-up heating and water systems
Now is a good time to also tune-up your heating and water systems. If something isn’t working properly in either of these systems, your electricity bills could shoot through the roof. Even if things look like they are working well, now is the time to really check everything out and order spare parts before you’re in desperate need of them.
5. Reverse your ceiling fans
Ceiling fans are not only for cooling down in the warmer months, they can also save you on heating costs. By reversing your fans to run in a clockwise rotation, it will pull the hot air that has risen back into the lower areas of the room. This will circulate warm air within the room, and could potentially lower your heating costs by almost 10%.
6. Opt for a programmable thermostat
If no one is home, then the heat doesn’t need to be blaring. Get yourself a programmable thermostat to set your heating system on a schedule, so that your house is kept at a lower temperature while you are at work. Don’t want to buy a new thermostat? Then manually turn down the temperature before you leave for the day in order to save on energy.
7. Plant a windbreak
Trees and shrubs around your home can actually serve a purpose and aid in keeping your house warmer in the winter. Try planting a windbreak, which is a well-placed line of evergreen trees that will protect your house from excessive winds. Additionally, you can plant evergreens against your home, particularly in front of windows, to keep even more cold air out. This is great not only for reducing your heating costs, but also for the planet.
8. Install storm doors and windows
Adding storm doors and windows to your home will keep out cold winter air and increase energy efficiency, since they work as an additional barrier. Just make sure that they are securely closed so that they can actually do their job.
9. Add weather stripping
Go around your home and check for leaks around your windows, chimneys, exterior doors, and any other areas that lead to the outside. If you can feel a draft, seal them with weather stripping or caulk to prevent warm air from leaking out and cold air from entering.
10. Insulate hot water pipes
When you don’t insulate hot water pipes, they can actually cause the water temperature to drop slightly when travelling through them. This leads to your water heater working harder in order to achieve a higher temperature, thus increasing your energy bill.
Purchase insulation made for pipes, and make sure that you choose the correct size so that it properly fits. In addition to saving money, you’ll also be saving water since you won’t have to wait as long for hot water to come through the faucet.
Kate Wilson, the author of this article, is a freelance writer.
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