As temperatures plummet across the country this winter, many homes waste energy and money due to poor insulation, bad temperature control, and inefficient heater usage. But how do you know if your home is losing energy and what can you do to fix this?
In my house, we’ve utilized a few simple strategies to make sure we save both the energy use and the high bills. Here’s what we’ve found.
Check for melting snow on the roof
If, after a snowfall, there are patches where snow is melting on your roof, this is a telltale sign that your attic isn’t insulated well enough. Heat rises, and as it rises through your home, it’ll penetrate any poorly insulated areas and escape through the roof, and that means your HVAC system is having to work harder to keep warm air in your home.
Use automatic thermostats
There’s been a lot of development with automatic thermostats like Nest that help you save on your energy bill by automatically finding out your patterns—when you leave for work, how you spend the weekends—and then changing the temperature based on your typical schedule. When we leave for work in the morning, the automatic thermostat lowers the temperature and then raises it again once we come home from work. I can also control the temperature when I’m on-the-go with my smartphone.
Change your HVAC filters as frequently as recommended
Depending on the age of your HVAC unit and what kind you own, it will suggest how often to replace your air filters. If you do this as often as recommended—with the right type of filter—your HVAC won’t have to work as hard, which lowers your energy bill and increases the life of the HVAC.
Use plastic and temporary sealers for insulation
Our house has large bay windows in the living room and between these and the rest of the windows, we lose a lot of heat in the winter. That’s why, before the first freeze, we use plastic weather sheets to seal off our windows. This actually helps quite a bit on our energy bill during these bitterly cold months. For windows that open, you can also use temporary foam sealers along the edges of the window; these peal off easily and don’t leave residue when you’re ready to open the windows in the spring, too.
It really doesn’t take too much effort to save money and prepare your house for winter—and the benefits are two fold: for the environment and your wallet both.