Winterizing your home will help save energy and money

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 by Theresa Lehman

The days are getting shorter and that can only mean one thing: winter will soon be here. In this two part blog series, I will share some tips on how to go about ‘winterizing’ your home. By making a few simple changes around the house, you will not only do your part to help save energy, but it will also save you money.

CHANGE IT For your health, enhance the indoor air quality of your home by changing your furnace filters. It is encouraged to purchase air filters that have a MERV rating (8 to 14). They are sold at Home Depot, Target, etc. It takes more energy to push the air through dirty filters than clean filters. Throughout the winter, check your filters monthly.

VACUUM IT Dust or vacuum the tops of ceiling fans. While you’re cleaning, make sure to reverse the direction of your ceiling fans so the fans push the warm air down. If your ducts haven’t been cleaned in awhile, take the grates off the vents and vacuum the ducts. For thorough cleaning, hire a trusted professional to vacuum the ducts.

SEAL IT Caulk around windows, doors and the exterior of your home to prevent drafts and water damage. Consider weather-stripping around doors and windows on the inside of your home to further prevent drafts and water damage. You can also purchase “insulating” curtains or drapes. In the winter, let the sunshine in during the day (for heat gain), and close the curtains at night to keep it in. Also remember to caulk around your plumbing fixtures to prevent leaks, which can lead to mold and mildew issues. While you’re at it, install aerators to restrict water flow from 2.2 gpm to 0.5 gpm, decreasing your water consumption. Also remember to clean out your drains and clear any blockages.

INSULATE IT Insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase your energy efficiency. Replace your doors and windows with ENERGY STAR doors and windows. Be sure to check that they qualify for Federal and/or State tax incentives. If your walls are well insulated, check your attic floor, basement ceiling, water heater and plumbing pipes.

TUNE IT It is strongly recommended to have your furnace tested for any leaks and tuned up so that it performs as optimally as possible. It is also recommended to have ducts tested for leaks and, if leaking, have the ducts sealed.

What are some projects  you do year after year to winterize your home? Please leave a comment below and share your tip with others. Make sure to check back later this week because I will share some additional information and simple weekend projects that will keep you saving energy and money all winter long.

About Theresa Lehman

Dedicating her entire career to sustainable practice, Theresa has worked on more than 70 projects seeking LEED® certification utilizing the LEED®-NC, LEED®-CI, LEED®-CS, LEED®-EBOM, and LEED® for Schools green building rating systems. She has successfully certified projects that have earned LEED® certification at all four award levels including: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Her portfolio of LEED® projects includes many “Wisconsin firsts” such as the first State of Wisconsin LEED® certified project, the first healthcare facility, the first LEED®-EBOM Schools, the first LEED® for Schools project and the first zero-net energy / carbon neutral project–the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center–the “greenest building on the planet” according to Rick Fedrizzi, former President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council.

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