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Winterizing Your Home


Unless your home was specially constructed for energy efficiency, you may want to consider reducing your energy bills by winterizing your home. Here are five quick ways to do just that while trimming down your energy bills.

Caulk any leaks and gaps
Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Take a close look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and along the foundation. Use the incense test: carefully (avoiding drapes and other flammables) move a lit stick along walls; where the smoke wavers, you have air sneaking in. Let’s seal it!

Switch the direction of your ceiling fans
Most people think of fans only when they want to keep cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Just remember this: Counter-clockwise rotation produces cooling breezes and clockwise rotation produces warmer air. By reversing your ceiling fans, you’ll avoid the windchill effect and more evenly heat your home, which in turn will allow you to turn down your thermostat and save energy.

Mind your thermostat
It’s easy to forget to turn down the heat when you leave the building, but doing so is one of the surest ways to save money. Most households shell out 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling, so why pay for what no one uses? Program your
thermostat to 50 or 55 degrees when you go to bed and work. You’ll notice significant
savings in your next energy bill and perhaps a good night’s sleep!

Pile up on insulation
Heat rises, and in an uninsulated home, 25% of heat is lost through the roof. Insulating your attic is a simple and effective way to reduce heat loss and reduce your heating bills. Insulation also deteriorates over time, so it may be time to add more material in your attic to help trap in the heat.

Lower your water heater’s temperature
While many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees F by installers, most households don’t need that much steam but end up paying for it–in dollars and the occasional scalding burn. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees F (or lower) would reduce your water heating costs by 6% to 10%.