Tips for Winterizing Your Home 

Winter Home Prep:

Most of us forget about changing or cleaning a furnace filter at least once every 4-6 weeks between late fall and mid-spring, and that can significantly increase our heating bill because dirty furnaces have limited air flow and higher energy demand as a result.

Also, think about switching to a permanent filter that will not only simplify your life but lessen the need for regular cleaning.
It has been proven that disposable filters only trap about 40% of the debris while electrostatic filters trap nearly 90%. If your furnace is old, it might be best to change it altogether. It will be costly, but you will get the money back by having far lesser heating bills throughout the season. Plus, check to see if you are eligible for the federal tax credits for new furnaces installed prior to Jan 1, 2017 as it can cover a good portion of the cost, up to $500.

 A/C

Secondly, check if your air conditioning pipes and the main hose have any water pooled up within them. If your air conditioning model has a water shutoff valve then it would be best to turn it completely off. Plus, turn off the exterior water spigot and stop any water leaks with an antibacterial silicone. If you have a window A/C unit, it would be great if you could remove it for the winter and seal the hole so as to prevent cold winds coming in.

 Water Heater

Also, check the temperature that your water heater is set on. Most installers set it to over 140 degrees Fahrenheit; however, most households do not need that much hot water. Having the temperature set to 115 degrees Fahrenheit or even lower, will save you up to 10%. If you ever had a thought that you might not need the tank to store hot water, then think about installing a tankless heater or some re-circulators near the faucets.  Don’t forget to take full advantage of tax credits for solar energy systems program that pays up to 30% of the total cost without any upper limit. This program runs through 31st December 2019.

 Air Drafts

Drafts are considered by the U.S Department of Energy as the worst energy drainer. It is believed that drafts can waste as much as 30% of your energy. There is a simple DIY solution though, take an old towel, sew the ends to make a tube and fill it with sand. Place it under your drafty door after you open and close the door.
Plus, consider inviting a professional technician to examine your ductwork as it is estimated that up to 30% of heated (and cooled air in the summer) escapes through the ducts. According to the American Solar Energy Society, properly sealed ducts can save up to $180 annually on an average home.

Outdoor Pipes

Lastly, consider insulating your outdoor pipes. This small move alone will reduce your hot water bill as well as prevent the pipes from freezing and possibly bursting causing a very big problem. You can even do it yourself, just buy pre-slit pipe foam at your local hardware store and fasten it to the pipe using duct tape.

Here is a great follow up article on more ways to save with your heating and cooling: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_hvac

 

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