It’s getting close to February, and pretty soon we’ll finally be waving goodbye to winter and feeling the days get gradually warmer. Like many homeowners, you may have noticed that this winter brought some pretty big heating bills with it. Despite what you may think, this isn’t something you simply have to put up with. Here are some changes you can make to get your home more energy-efficient for next winter…
Smother Drafts Around Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets in your exterior walls aren’t typically the thing you think about when you’re looking for ways to make your home more energy-efficient. While they’re easy to overlook, these are one of the biggest sources of drafts in a lot of homes, mainly due to the insulation not being fitted behind them properly.
To stop the air from flowing around the outlet, remove the cover plates, then fill the gaps around the outlets themselves with expanding foam or an acrylic latex caulk. To make sure you smother the draft completely, put a foam gasket around the outlet too. This may sound like a minor change, but it can make a huge difference to the amount of heat you use and pay for.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
I’ve heard a lot of people totally dismiss programmable thermostats as some kind of techy gimmick that won’t last. Don’t believe these people! This relatively young gadget can warrant massive savings for any homeowner. By programming them to turn down your home’s temperature by 10 to 15 degrees at times when you’re sleeping or out of the house, you’ll shave a considerable amount off of your average heating bill. These thermostats are also a relatively small investment, with a lot of decent models starting at just $25 or less.
Just bear in mind that there’s a massive selection out there, and the more expensive models can cost hundreds. These come with various additional features, and often offer greater savings. When you combine a programmable thermostat with sophisticated heat trace gas or water pipes, you can rest assured that your heating is as energy efficient as possible.
Replace Weather Stripping
One of the biggest culprits for sapping heat and money from your home is worn or damaged weather stripping. Sure, the stripping on your door and window frames may have been in pretty good condition when you moved in all those years ago. However, a lot of people are living in homes with weather stripping that simply isn’t doing its job, and wondering why they always want to crank the heat up to full blast. At least a tenth of an average home’s heat is lost through the windows and doors, so have a look around and make sure you’re not getting by with worn, damaged weather stripping.
Pulling the old stripping off and tacking on the new is a simple process, and the difference can be vast. After replacing them the first time, be sure to go back and check on all your weather stripping once every year or two.