It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that keeping your home warm and comfortable during the winter months tends to come at a high monetary cost. If winter has sent chills through your home, you’ve probably also experienced receiving an extortionate bill from your heating company that’s almost just as bone-chilling as the weather itself. However, if you are worried about the cost of this winter, you don’t need to huddle your family under blankets just yet as there are a number of home improvement repairs that you can make in time for winter in order to keep your home warm and comfortable and keep the heating bill low. We’ve put together a list of suggestions of just a few improvements that you can make to your home before the winter months set in.
Upgrade Your Heating System
If your heating system is getting on a little bit in years you will probably find that it has a low level of energy efficiency. Upgrading your heating system can be costly initially, but it’s a worthwhile investment that has the potential to save you a lot on your heating bills in the future. 30% of a home’s energy cost is spent on heating, and can often be a lot more depending on whether you heat with electricity, gas, or oil. If you can’t afford to fully upgrade or replace your heating system, you can also improve its energy efficiency and save money by tuning up your furnace or boiler as well as changing the air filter and diagnosing for any problems that may lead to inefficiencies.
Seal Up Your Windows
If you can’t afford to fully replace your windows or rent your home and cannot get permission from the landlord, don’t worry as you can still improve comfort and save some cash by adding just a little to what you already have. Often, new windows are only marginally more effective than old ones, and you can drastically improve the efficiency of your windows by adding a good set of insulating blinds. If you can feel a draft coming through your window caulking around the frame should do the job, and to dramatically reduce energy losses, reflective bubble wrap foil can be an excellent and inexpensive option.
Get an Energy Audit
Before the winter months set in, save yourself some money on your heating bills by carrying out a full energy audit of your home. Heat can escape your home in hundreds of different ways, and often getting a new heating system installed is not enough to solve all of your comfort and energy efficiency problems. Having a certified home energy assessment or audit carried out on your home will provide you with critical information in order to get the best savings on your energy bills and will make you aware of the specific changes that need making before winter in order to keep your home at its most comfortable and efficient. As well as servicing your air conditioning and heating system, a full energy audit will investigate how your house’s shell is performing and also the condition of your ductwork.
Close Up Air Leaks
Before the winter season comes around, it’s a good idea to check your property for air leaks and close them up in order to save energy and keep your home warm and comfortable during the colder weather. Air infiltration is a major reason for many rooms feeling cold, however it’s easy to use a smoke stick to check for any air leakage. The major culprits tend to be electrical boxes on the outside walls, and checking for these in order to install newer plug and light switch gaskets can make a huge difference. Outside doors are also a common culprit when it comes to air leaks, so replace those worn gaskets and don’t forget to seal your attic hatch door.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
Although most modern furnaces are reasonably energy efficient, the use of a programmable thermostat can dramatically improve their efficiency. However, although programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive, many models can be ridiculously difficult to operate, which is why many homeowners ignore them. Opt for a model that is fitted with an energy start button as these are easier to work with. Once you have got the hang of how they work, programmable thermostats can be extremely handy for heating your home in the most energy efficient manner during the winter months.
How do you best prepare your home for the winter? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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