Furnaces around the Midwest are already getting a workout as winter is just beginning. Yes, it is that time of year when getting your heating bill can feel like make you shiver just as much as the wind chill does. It is also the time of year when we at SWA Architects would like to remind you of things that can keep your home warmer during the winter months without adding to your heating bill.
There are simple, and best of all free, things to make sure and do.
Close heat registers and doors to unused rooms: This goes for everyone from empty nesters to those unused guest rooms. Close the registers in those unused rooms, and keep the door to these rooms closed. No sense in spending money to heat a room that no one is using, but make sure to open them up when the kids and family come back for the holidays or they may not come back next year.
Open the Curtains and Blinds: We may not get a lot of sun between December and March, but take that free heat when you can and open those curtains and blinds on the south side of your house.
Keep the chimney damper closed: Seems simple enough, but make sure you aren’t losing heat through the chimney when you are not using the fireplace.
Then there are the inexpensive projects you can do that can significantly cut down on your heating costs.
Door Sweeps and Weatherstripping: Feel that cold draft coming from the back door. Add door sweeps to all exterior doors and weatherstripping around the jambs. Especially overlooked is the seal where the vertical weather strip meets the door threshold. A tightly sealed door will cut back on heat loss.
Regular Furnace Maintenance: Have your furnace serviced at the beginning of every winter season and replace the air filter regularly. A furnace that isn’t running up to standard can add significant cost during the winter months.
Programmable Thermostat: If you don’t already have one, install a programmable thermostat that you can set to a comfortable temperature during the day and a lower temperature at night. If the house is empty all day while you are at work, have the thermostat set low during this time and set to change to your preferred temperature an hour before you typically get home.
(Also, make sure your thermostat is located in a spot in the home that is neither a common cold or warm spot. You don’t want your furnace to be kicking on when it is not necessary because your thermostat is in a drafty location.)
Outlet Gaskets: Outlets in exterior walls are notorious spots for air infiltration. Installing simple foam gaskets behind the face plate of your outlets can eliminate these trouble spots.
Insulate Attic and Crawl Space Accesses: Access panels are often breaks in the insulation that surrounds your conditioned home. Add rigid foam insulation to the attic side of your access panels to keep your attic insulation constant. Add weatherstripping around the perimeter of the panel to ensure a tight seal where warm air will not leak out. Read the rest of this entry »