Brrr! There’s a chill in the air that means winter is on the way. Before Jack Frost settles in, take a few easy steps to prepare your home. You’ll stay cozy all winter long knowing you’ve been good to your wallet and the planet.
Get audited – before you do anything, have a home energy audit done. You’ll find the areas of your home that really need work, and find more effective ways to go green while staying warm. An added bonus: many energy retrofit rebate programs require an energy audit be conducted prior to any work.
Cover bare floors – use area rugs to help insulate against hard floors that feel cooler than surrounding air. If your feet are cold, you’ll feel cold. Of course, putting on a pair of cozy socks or soft slippers helps, too.
Heat the space you use – if your home doesn’t have climate zones, use space heaters to heat up only the small spaces you are using rather than your whole home. Get a heater with a timer and thermostat to prevent overheating.
Go programmable – install a programmable thermostat to keep your home warm when you are there and not-so-warm when you’re not. Turn your thermostat down at night to reduce heating bills significantly (up to two percent for every degree you go down).
Harness the sun – open drapes on sunny windows to let the sun heat your home, then close them (with heavy curtains) at night. Keep windows that face away from the sun covered to prevent heat loss. It’s a simple system that can reduce your heating costs by up to 15%.
Seal it up – we’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it. Replace weather stripping around doors and windows. Seek out air leaks around ductwork, in the basement, and around crawl spaces, then fix them.
Get serious – upgrade your insulation, especially in the attic and around the basement. Install storm windows, or upgrade to low-E windows to help prevent drafts and heat loss (especially prevalent with single-pane wood-frame windows).
Embrace it – reach for your fuzziest socks and coziest sweaters, then curl up with a soft throw and something warm to drink. It’s a set of little luxuries you won’t be able to enjoy in summer, so indulge while you can. Besides, wearing sweaters and comfy socks means you can set your thermostat down another degree or two.