Come wind, rain, snow, or hail (or whatever else winter can throw your way), your home should be ready to withstand the cold. Energy is a big factor during those chilly, dark New Jersey months, so finding ways to increase energy efficiency will bolster your pocketbook and the coziness of your home, keeping you and your family happy for the holidays.
As a certified home improvement contractor, we have helped over 8,000 New Jersey homeowners maximize their homes’ performance. And with our winter energy-saving tips, you can keep your family comfortable and your house efficient this winter!
Seal Air Leaks
Anywhere your home has a crack or opening, you have an energy issue. In fact, preventing drafty areas in a home can create energy savings of up to 30 percent. Siding and insulation can only do their jobs to the extent that your home is properly sealed, so there are a couple of areas of your home to check with regard to air leaks. The two biggest spaces are windows and doors.
As windows age, the seals around their frames may need to be repaired. If you notice cracks in the frame, have the affected windows repaired or replaced, depending on the severity. If you notice peeling caulk around the window, remove all old residue and re-caulk the frame to create a proper insulation barrier. Add weather stripping around windows and doors to seal up possible openings where air might escape.
You should also ensure that your fireplace has been closed after use. Leaving a flue open can allow a great deal of interior air to escape. Top sealing dampers and chimney balloons are superb energy-efficient solutions for this problem.
The greatest source of energy loss in a home occurs through your very own walls — especially walls that lack insulation. Large amounts of heat and energy also escape through your roof. But there is no reason to panic; both of these problems can be solved with added insulation.
Installing wall insulation can be a difficult job as the wall must be opened from the interior drywall or the exterior siding to access the needed cavity. Unless you are renovating the siding or walls, this may be a more difficult solution. However, adding insulation to your attic floor is easy and inexpensive, and it can keep the hot air that rises from escaping through your roof.
If heat escapes your home, it is likely happening through your windows. They are an area of great heat loss, which means comfort and money may literally be flying out your window. Energy-efficient windows fight this heat loss, and they can be a great way to preserve your home’s energy.
Making the plunge into energy-efficient windows can be a costly investment. If you are looking to sell your home in the near future, energy-efficient windows are known to receive a 70 to 80 percent return on investment. They also save you money on a monthly basis by reducing your electric bill. But the greatest asset to greater energy efficiency is the level of comfort that new windows bring by removing drafty regions in the home.
So, if you are weighing the overall cost of new window installation, the improved comfort and increased property value make new windows worth the price tag. Be sure to do your research to choose the right window type for your home.
Open Your Curtains
Utilize as much of the sun’s heat as you can by opening your curtains during the day. You can essentially create a greenhouse effect in your home, allowing light (which then turns into heat) through your windows and trapping it inside. This solution costs you nothing, but it can save you on heating bills. Just make sure to close your curtains at night to provide your windows with an added layer of insulation to keep that heat trapped tightly inside.
Your thermostat is essential to heating your home, but an older model can actually be costing you a great deal of comfort and energy. Swapping out your old thermostat for a programmable one means you can automatically delegate when you want your home to be what temperature.
By programming a lower heat during the times of day you are away from the home or during the hours you sleep, you can save a great deal of energy.
While lights are used all year long, the darker days of winter may have you flipping on your light switches more often than normal. Replacing your current bulbs for energy-efficient, LED lights can be an easy solution to save some energy.
With winter comes the holidays, which usually means extra string lights adorning your property. Opting for LED holiday lights can also help save energy during the season, and you don’t have to lose any of your festiveness to do so!
With heating being the greatest source of energy usage in a home, especially in winter, the more efficiently you can warm your home, the more energy you will save. A furnace tune-up is a way to achieve this. Have a professional inspect your furnace. They will be able to clean and adjust necessary parts as well as lubricate all moving pieces to keep the furnace running efficiently. They also test the safety controls and measure the voltage or amps. Have them run a carbon monoxide test to ensure your furnace is not outputting harmful gases.
A furnace tune-up should be completed at least once a year for maximum efficiency and to extend the life of your furnace. You should also periodically change out all furnace filters, keeping it and your air clean.
Save Energy All Winter Long
Conserving energy, especially in winter, saves you money and comfort. So, if you are ready to update your home to become more energy efficient, American Home Contractors is ready to help. Contact us to get a quote on energy-saving options for your home.