Winter’s Here: Have You Winterized Your House for Energy Efficiency Yet?

Preparing for the Oncoming Season: Winterize the Home Now

home energy audit

Here in the pacific northwest, the winter came upon us in one fell swoop, and as we listen to the radio news reports addressing the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the eastern seaboard, the same appears to be true across most of the country. Wow. In Portland, we went from a beautiful, long summer, to 3 days of fall before feeling the chill back in the air. All of which begs the question, have you prepared your home for the winter season, in terms of energy efficiency?

The methods aren’t anything particularly new or even expensive, but the rewards for your efforts, besides greater home energy efficiency and personal warmth while relaxing on your couch or eating dinner, include potentially substantial savings on your power bills. So how can you winterize your house without breaking the bank?

Some Methods for Winter-Proofing Your Home for Winter

Start with some kind of brief, casual home energy audit. Take a walk through each of the rooms of each of your home, and look for drafty windows and doors (to the outside), and make a log of each room’s energy supply: what is the heat source, and what lights are in each room. Are there thermostats for the upstairs and downstairs? Is there central heating and air in the home?

After that, go over the list and see what’s what. If you have filters anywhere in your HVAC system, then replace them to increase efficiency. Replacing filters even once a year can be a big help to the system, and the start of the winter season is the perfect time for it. Swap out whatever incandescent bulbs you haven’t already, and switch over to CFLs, which will save you some money on your energy bills, even though the up front cost may be a bit more significant than standard bulbs. In the long run, you’ll be better off.

Be practical — if you’re spending the evening in the living room with the family, then only heat that room if that’s possible. If there are large windows in rooms upstairs or in rooms that are not going to be in use, then consider closing those windows, pulling drapes, and even closing the interiors doors to those rooms, in order to keep the main parts of the house from cooling down unnecessarily.

Check the caulking and weatherstripping around windows and doors, and make necessary improvements to all of them, using caulk from the hardware store, or new weatherstripping for around and underneath doors leading to the outside. If you have windows in areas like your garage, for example, you can cover them with cheap plastic from the hardware store, and save tons of energy.

Here’s a great one that you may not have thought of — if you have a ceiling fan, reverse the direction during the winter. Hot air rises. This includes the heated air generated by your heating system, and so why not turn on your ceiling fans to kick that air back down and into circulation around the house?

If you’ve got a few great tips for prepping the home for increased energy efficiency during the winter months, why not share them with us below in the comments section? We’d love to hear from you.

[Photo Via: Home Energy Audit]

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