How Winterizing Your Home Can Save You Energy Dollars

Pretty much anyone who lives in a region with cold winter weather knows that winterizing a home can cut down on chilly drafts and make for a more comfortable interior. And when the weather outside is frightful, nothing is more delightful than coming home to a warm and cozy atmosphere. What you might not realize is that proper winterizing techniques can also reduce your energy demand and your utility bills in the process. So if you haven’t yet taken the steps to learn how to optimize your winterization, here are a few tips that can help to create the comfortable interior you crave and save you some energy dollars, as well.

You might want to start the process with a home energy audit. You can do this on your own if you want to save some dough (thanks to online tutorials offering tips and tricks for finding energy waste in your home), but this is an instance in which you should probably spring for a professional service. The reason is that professional technicians are trained and experienced. They know where to look during their top-to-bottom inspection of your home. In addition, they have the tools and equipment on hand to make the best assessment. Whereas you might miss leaks throughout the home, undermining any efforts at winterization you ultimately make, the professional auditor should be able to find every area where energy is being wasted so that you can address them.

Once you know where problems are occurring you can begin the task of total winterization. This could start with simple tasks like adding weather stripping to windows and doors. Wood swells and shrinks as the temperature and humidity fluctuate. And winter weather could leave gaps in frames where cold air is seeping in and your bought air is escaping. From there you’ll want to seal any leaks around pipes, vents, ducting, floorboards, and other seams in your structure, creating a more airtight interior. As a side note, increased airtightness may require the addition of ventilation to ensure that air in your home doesn’t become stagnant, creating a health hazard. But heat recovery ventilators can help to preserve the energy efficiency of your system.

Finally, you need to address insulation. Your home energy audit report should include areas where insulation is insufficient to the task of preserving your set interior temperature. In this case you might have to add extra fill or batting to common areas like the attic or basement (especially if these spaces are unfinished and the insulation is exposed). But you might also find problematic walls in your home. And if it gets to the point where you decide to tear down walls, consider upgrading to spray foam insulation, which fills in any gaps to seal and prevent leaks. You may also want to think about upgrading to double- or even triple-paned windows if your single panes and storm windows don’t seem to be doing the trick.

Another good idea, once you’ve completed the winterization process, is to take a look at your HVAC components to make sure they’re providing the greatest energy efficiency. You don’t necessarily have to shell out thousands of dollars for a new furnace and ductwork, but upgrading to a digital, programmable thermostat can help you to¬†avoid common thermostat problems. And you might even want to set up a zoning system to ensure that you aren’t turning your top floor into an oven while trying to keep your basement reasonably warm, wasting energy in the process.

Related posts:

  1. How Sealing and Insulation Can Save You Energy Dollars at Home
  2. Weatherization Basics for Homeowners
  3. Why Home Weatherization Is Essential for Winter and Summer Months
  4. Air Sealing and Insulation Upgrades for Homeowners
  5. Energy Saving Window Treatment Benefits for Homeowners
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