As you start to pull out your Snuggie, flannel pajamas and stock up on hot chocolate in preperation for the imminent cold weather, we have to remember to prepare our home for the cold too.
Here are Ten ways to ensuring an enjoyable winter in a warm home:
1) Use a programmable thermostat and set it properly
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?
For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you'll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill.
2) Reverse your ceiling fans
By reversing its direction from the summer operation, the fan will push warm air downward and force it to recirculate, keeping you more comfortable. To do this, look up at the fan and the blades should be turning clockwise.
3) Clear our your gutters
Leaves and debris will cause gutters to back up, ultimately pushing ice underneath roof shingles and causing dangerous ice overhangs.
4) Inspect your doors
As much as 35 percent of the air leakage in a home can come from small openings in doors, windows, and fireplaces.
Door sweeps — long metal or rubber extensions that are nailed on to close the gap between the bottom of the door and the flooring — should be installed on basement and attic entries as well as on exterior doors. You can also mimic this by using a towel.
5) Give Your Heating System a Tune-Up
Your car needs a tune-up to stay in its prime operating condition and to maintain its life and longevity. Well, the same is true for heating equipment. Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5% of heating costs.
The good news is many utilities offer free annual checkups by qualified technicians -- but you often have to call early, as HVAC crews get backed up once heating season starts. Some furnace manufacturers and dealers also offer free or discounted inspections.
6) Change Furnace Filters
Yes it's easy to forget, but it's important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Here's a worry-saving tip: mark a monthly check on your calendar.
You may also want to consider switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce inconvenience and are more efficient. Did you know that disposable fiberglass filters trap a measly 10 to 40% of debris? Electrostatic filters trap around 88%, and are much better at controlling the bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen that cause illness and irritation. They higher cost is usually a good investment in your health. Another good choice is a genuine HEPA filter , which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles.
7) Inspect your smoke alarms
The seasonal change is a great reminder to check the batteries and function of your home's Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms.
8) Cozy up to a safe fireplace
Professionals will tell you to keep a cap on your chimney to keep critters out that may be looking for a place to snuggle up themselves. It will also help keep moisture out.
Check to ensure the chimney is clear of any blockages and that the damper is working properly and operating smoothly.
Hire a chimney cleaner to get rid of any excessive buildup of creosote to prevent a chimney fire.
9) Pipes and hoses
Bring your hoses in and shut off the valves to any outside faucets and water lines.
Insulate any pipes that are prone to freezing. Pipe insulators are inexpensive and can be found at your local hardware store.
10) Windows create heat loss
According to Natural Resources Canada, windows can account for up to 25% of total house heat loss!
Seal air leaks by adding or replacing weather-stripping and caulk any areas with gaps. Replace doorstops at the bottom of doors. (especially if they are weathered and/or aged)
BONUS: Put on a Sweater
Dress your family warmer for winter - when you're inside too!
Roughly speaking, a light long-sleeved sweater is worth about 2 degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater adds about 4 degrees. So cozy up and start saving!
Take a bit of time following all or some of these above tips and you and your home will have an enjoyable winter!
As always, we THANK YOU for visiting The KormendyTrott Team blog and for allowing us into your home.
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*For CENTURY 21 Canada in 2010 and 2011, Based on Gross Closed Commission