During the cold winter months, your heating system will be working hard to ensure you are warm and comfortable throughout the cold season. There are some steps you can take to improve the efficiency of the system as well as boost your home comfort. The following tips are things that we do to make our home winter-ready:
1) Seal All Windows
The area around the window frame as well as the window itself can cause huge losses of heat during the cold winter season. That is why it is recommended you seal these gaps and cover the window to prevent loss of heated air to the outside. You can easily buy caulking from your local hardware store and caulk these gaps on your own. There are two types of caulking: temporary and permanent caulking. Both of them can seal the gaps properly. Secondly, you need to seal the entire window with plastic film, also sold at your local hardware store. You can tape the plastic film around the window with double sided tape. These are things that you can easily do yourself
2) Have Your Heating System Serviced
The most important thing that you can do as far as preparing your home for the winter goes is having your heater maintained by a professional. The entire system must be cleaned and moving parts lubricated. The thermostat will also be recalibrated and HVAC repairs carried out on any faulty components in the heating system. During maintenance, any worn out part can also be replaced. For instance, air filters should be replaced to improve indoor air quality. This is also a great time to consider cleaning your air ducts to improve indoor air quality during the cold season.
3) Install a Humidifier
A humidifier, as the name suggests, adds moisture to the room to improve the relative humidity of air circulating in your home. Low humidity air is difficult to breath. Furthermore, it has a poor heat-carrying capacity. This means that a humidifier will help to improve home comfort as well as increase the efficiency of the HVAC system. You can talk to your HVAC provider about the best humidifier to install in your home. Although it may not sound appealing at first, don’t think of this as keeping your home humid.
4) Reinforce Your Insulation
Your attic, crawl spaces and basement are three areas that account for a huge fraction of heat losses in a home. Heated air is normally lost through poor insulation in these areas. As you prepare for winter, therefore, you need to add insulation in these areas. If you live in a cold part of the country, you should consider installing R-49 insulation to make your home energy efficient.
5) Install a Programmable Thermostat
To keep your heating bill low, you need to learn how and when to turn down the thermostat. For instance, you can turn down the thermostat at night when you go to sleep because your bedding will keep you warm at night. When you go to work in the morning and leave the house empty, you can also turn down the heating system since you do not need the heating system operating optimally when there is nobody at home during the day. When you get back home in the evening, you can turn the thermostat back to its normal setting. Since this is tedious work, and you might forget to adjust your thermostat on several occasions, you should consider installing a programmable thermostat. It has been a life saver around our house. This is a thermostat that can automatically adjust temperatures based on user settings. You can program it to turn the heating system up and down as required. This will save you the hassle of having to do this on your own. That said, a programmable thermostat can save you a lot of money every year.
6) Seal Your Air Ducts
Leaks in the air ducts can increase your heating bill significantly. After all, you will be losing heated air to unwanted spaces. To prevent these losses, all you need to do is plug leaks in your air ducts. This will also help to prevent contamination of air since dust and other types of air contaminants may be sucked into the air ducts and cause contamination. You can reduce your heating bill by as much as 20% by simply sealing your air ducts.
7) Insulate Your Water Heater and Hot Water Pipes
Water heating accounts for a huge fraction of the household energy bill. To keep your heating costs low, be sure to reinforce the insulation around your water heater. This will allow you to store hot water for longer, so there will be no need for further heating when you need hot water. Be sure to also insulate all your hot water pipes to minimize heat losses to the surroundings. There are many types of insulating materials you can buy from your local hardware store for this purpose.
If you follow all of these tips (most of which you can complete on your own), we’re confident that your home will be warm and efficient just like ours. So rest easy this winter and get the work done ahead of time so that you can stay warm all winter long!