Winter is here. It’s 2016. Start the new year strong with some new homeowner habits. Put in some work now with these winterization tips to save money and energy all year long. Not only will you improve your home’s efficiency, but you will also create a safer and more comfortable home for you and your loved ones.
12 Winterization Tips
1. Use Draft Snakes
Replace the weatherstripping around doors and windows, but to block those drafts that come from below, buy a draft snake or create your own. Get some inspiration for your DIY draft snake here (Good Housekeeping).
2. Change Furnace Filter
Source: Nhuan Nguyen / IStock
Although commonly forgotten, changing your air filter is essential for maintaining a clean and properly functioning heating and cooling system. Check your air filter every 30 days and wait no longer than 90 days to replace it.
You can test if your air filter is too dirty by holding it up to the light. If you can see light passing through the filter, it should still be good to use. If, on the other hand, the filter is so clogged that no light rays can pass through, then you could definitely benefit from a replacement.
Another filter tip is to write the date of installation on the filter itself so that you know exactly how long it’s been since your last filter replacement. Consider purchasing your filter in bulk so you never run out again!
You may also want to consider purchasing more effective HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which remove more than 99% of airborne particles.
Watch our video to learn how to change your air filter:
If you have permanent filters that need to be cleaned rather than replaced, watch this eHow video:
3. Reverse Direction of Ceiling Fans
Source: Ross Everhard / IStock
Did you know that your ceiling fans can also be used in winter? There is a small black switch at the base of your ceiling fan that you may not have ever noticed before. Flipping this switch will reverse the direction of your ceiling fan blades, creating an updraft that helps circulate warm air around the home. Since heat rises, your ceiling fan will help get that warm air back into your living spaces, potentially reducing your heating bills by up to 10%.
4. Turn Down Water Heater Temperature
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Most water heaters are automatically set to a temperature of 140°F, which is way too hot for normal use. It can even pose a scalding risk, especially if you have young ones around.
Luckily, you can adjust the temperature on the water heater itself. Find the temperature dial on your water heater tank and lower it to a safer and more energy-efficient 120°F.
5. Seal Air Leaks with Caulk and Weatherstripping
Source: Rhienna Cutler/ IStock
You can easily save up to 30% on your energy bills by conducting a little DIY energy audit and sealing the areas where you find air leaks. The first places to check are around windows and doors where lots of energy gets sucked out of the home.
Hold up a lit incense stick or thin piece of toilet paper around areas where you suspect a leak. If the smoke or paper begins moving erratically, you have an air leak that needs to be sealed.
Look closely around seals, corners, edges, and where utility wires and pipes enter the home. Use weatherproof caulk for gaps smaller than 1/4 inch and expandable foam spray for any gaps larger than that.
There are many incentives available for homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements. Check out the different policies and incentives available to Oklahoma City homeowners.
If you do make major insulation improvements, always have an HVAC professional inspect your home for proper ventilation levels. Although an airtight home is great fro energy savings, it can also create safety and health hazards.
6. Install Energy-Efficient Doors and Windows
Source: George Peters/ IStock
Storm doors and windows can make a huge difference in your energy bills. If you are looking to replace your old drafty windows with more energy-efficient ones, you may be eligible for some pretty nice tax credits. You can receive a tax credit equal to 10% of the product cost when you buy ENERGY STAR-certified products.
Still, replacing windows is expensive and there are more affordable ways to reduce your heating bills. If you really want to know if you should replace your windows, it’s a good idea to schedule a home energy audit with your local HVAC or utility company.
7. Insulate Your Crawl Spaces
Your crawl space is located right above the earth’s soil and consequently sucks up the cold air from the ground. If you have utilities in your crawl space, as you most likely do, you’ll want to put some work into insulating it from the cold.
Without crawl space insulation, your heating and cooling bills will be higher and your risk of frozen pipes will increase. If you have old fiberglass insulation, it’s time for an upgrade. There are many more insulation options available to you, such as rigid foam. Adding insulation to the crawl space floor will also help with moisture issues as well.
Call Interstate Heating & Air at (405) 794-8900 to have a professional inspect your crawl space for proper insulation.
8. Schedule a Heating Tune-Up
Although we recommend scheduling annual heating maintenance in the fall before winter hits, it’s not too late to have schedule your annual appointment. Ideally, you should schedule two heating and cooling tune-ups a year, one in the fall for your furnace and one in the spring for your air conditioner. This will extend the useful life of your HVAC equipment and improve your home’s energy efficiency and indoor air quality.
Annual HVAC maintenance is required by many manufacturer warranties, so while you may think you are saving money by having maintenance done every couple of years, you could risk losing your warranty.
Call Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning today for your professional heating tune-up at (405) 794-8900.
9. Use Your Thermostat Wisely
We recommend setting your thermostat to 68°F while at home and 55°F at night or while you are away. For every degree you lower your thermostat for a period of 8 hours or longer, you can save about 1-3% on your heating bill. Use a programmable thermostat for maximum settings. Consult the image above for more thermostat winterization tips.
10. Wear Warm Clothing
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Wearing warm clothing can easily boost your body temperature by several degrees or more. Compensate for the lower thermostat settings with some thermal layers and sweaters.
11. Seal Your Air Ducts
Source: Don Bayley / IStock
Learn how to inspect and seal your air ducts here. All it takes is a little time and some mastic sealant or aluminum foil tape. Ironically, duct tape is not a good solution for sealing air duct leaks so stick with the products mentioned above.
12. Choose the Right Contractor for HVAC Maintenance and Installation
Source: Skip ODonnell/ IStock
Sadly, over half of all new HVAC systems are improperly installed. It’s safe to say that many HVAC contractors do not follow the correct safety precautions and ENERGY STAR guidelines. Use this Heating & Cooling Bid Installation Checklist to help you choose the right contractor for the job, especially if you are hiring someone to install a new system.
Ask your HVAC contractor if they follow ENERGY STAR installation guidelines. If you hire the wrong HVAC contractor, none of the stated efficiency ratings will be met and you may forfeit any manufacturer warranty claims you may have.
As previously mentioned, in order to maintain your HVAC equipment’s warranties, you must have annual tune-ups performed by a qualified professional only.
Don’t forget to check out local programs and incentives for energy-efficient upgrades to your home: Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
For more winterization tips, read our other blog articles on the topic:
At Interstate Heating and Air Conditioning, our licensed, bonded, and insured technicians are ready to help you winterize your home for maximum energy savings.
Call us today to get a free estimate in Oklahoma City and the nearby areas – (405) 794-8900. For excellent furnace and heating system tune-ups and a full list of home services, visit our services page.
We stand behind all of our Heating, Cooling, and Indoor Air Quality solutions, all the parts and products we use, our technicians’ workmanship, and our staff’s professionalism. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed!
Happy New Year!