25 degrees!! Last night it got down to 25 degrees here in “Hot”lanta! I didn’t know if Old Man Winter would actually make an appearance here in the South, but as always, he reliably made his way … must be his brother, Heat Miser just couldn’t be persuaded to take a vacation. To some, Heat Miser staying put has been a welcome surprise, for others, it made Christmas day hitting the high 70’s an unusual way to open gifts and visit friends and family. But, just as the kids are heading back to school. BAM!! They get hit with below freezing temperatures. I hope you brought in your pets last night and bundled up your kiddos this morning for the bus stops or rides in to school.
I didn’t know if ‘winterizing’ our homes would be a relevant topic this winter, but it seems it definitely is AND, it’s a great post to keep for the future and help you save money on those spontaneous cold days and nights.
8 Things to Winterize Your Home and Save Money Without SPENDING a Lot!
There is a lot of advice on how to winterize your home and most are great! Today’s tips will focus on truly saving you more than you spend to save!! You can get new windows or water heater or furnace but if those aren’t in your budget right now, the return on investment will be a little bit down the road. And if you have those budgeted, PERFECT! Go get them sooner than later and start saving on your energy bills!
1. Insulate Your Pipes
Reduce your cost paying for hot water by insulating your pipes. This also reduces the likelihood of pipes bursting from freezing temperatures (like last night!) and having a mess and additional costs on your hands. How do you know if you should insulate your pipes? If you pipes are warm to the touch, they would be good to insulate. You can get pre-slit insulation from hardward stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace, etc.), cut to size, and seal with duct tape. In addition, the federal government will reimburse you for up to 30% of the cost and up to $1,500 for Highly efficient insulation so you save sooner and later if you pay a little more for better insulation.
2. Caulk and Weatherstrip
According to the US Department of Energy, simple leaks around your windows, doors, pipes, chimneys, etc. can be leaking 5-30% of your energy per year. Take a close look around your house where two different building materials meet. If you hold an incense stick around these areas and it flickers, then you have an energy leak and these are appropriate places to caulk or add weatherstripping. This is an inexpensive way for a long term solution without rebuilding parts of your home!
3. Put Up Plastic
It doesn’t cost much to go to a home repair or hardware store to buy a a window insulation kit. Done properly, these can be virtually invisible and will keep heat in instead of escaping out your windows this winter. If you can afford to spend a little more, hire a professional to install a Low-E film directly to the windows.
If you decide to replace your windows with higher efficiency windows, be sure to look at government savings, rebates, tax credits or deductions that may be available to you.
4. Mind YourThermostat
You like it warm and your significant other likes it cooler!! You’re playing a battle of the temps all day long so you can each be comfortable. Did you know that each degree lower on heat can save you 1-3% on your heating bills? So, let your partner have this season and add an extra, warm cozy sweater to your already amazing ensemble and you can both be happy!! Be sure to spend a few dollars (up to only $50 for a good one) on a thermostat that will automatically turn off your heat when the room has reached the desired temperature. Be sure to do #2 to help the thermostat run less.
5. Turn Down Your Water Heater
Long, hot showers can make you feel like you’re defrosting after being out on a day like today! If your water heater is set to the manufacturer’s setting of 140 degrees, then you’re losing money AND could risk a scalding! Turn it down to 120 degrees, reduce the steam in your pipes, reduce the likelihood of anyone in your house getting burned, and lower your energy bills 6 to 10%!
6. Winterize Your A/C and Water Lines
This one’s super easy, and might save you a few pennies next summer.
Simply drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes. Make sure you don’t have excess water pooled in equipment. If your air conditioner has a water shutoff valve, turn that off.
Also make sure any hoses are drained and stowed away neatly. Turn off exterior water spigots. It’s also a good idea to seal any water leaks; don’t forget to remove any window A/C units and store them so you don’t invite cold drafts all winter then seal your windows as described in #s 2 and 3 above.
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, the federal government will reimburse 30% of the cost for an efficient central air system, up to $1,500.
7. Run Fans . . . in Reverse
Fans aren’t Only for Cooling. Many of today’s fans have a switch near the motor that allow for you to change the direction of the fans to move clockwise pushing heat that has risen, to go back down into the room and recirculate the heat already there. This will help you save on energy costs and maybe have one less sweater to bulk up in!
8. Block Drafts
This super simple solution can be done in a few minutes or if you’re a bit more crafty, the morning with a little fabric, kitty litter or sand, and a bit of sewing or hot glue. If you have drafts coming in through doors and windows openings, simply roll up a towel to block the draft. If you’re crafty you can make a draft blocker with a little weight and easily move it in and out of the way. Add a face to make it really fun! (Pinterest probably has dome fun ideas! Now that the kids are back in school, this can be your project after you’ve cleaned up from the holidays!)
BONUS #9 Change Furnace Filters Filters changed once a month can reduce the energy demand to get through any dirt blocking the filters to get out into your rooms. At the very least, change it every 2 to no more than 3 months if budget is a concern. Get a high quality filter if you’re going longer between filter changes so your energy demand can be reduced. You might even consider going with a permanent filter that will catch more of the dust, allergens, dirt, bacteria, mold, and viruses, versus a replaceable filter that might catch only 10% to 40%. If your budget allows, look into a HEPA filter which can remove 99.97% of these things – this is especially useful for those with allergies, respiratory challenges, and have lower immunity to viruses.
Comment below if you received some value from this post. Do you have any tips you could share? Let us know in the comments. Be sure to share this with your friends on Facebook – I bet your family & friends in the mid-west and up north would appreciate it too!