Winters in Maryland are cold! Most homeowners make an effort to conserve energy in the winter. Whether your goal is to save energy and do your part for the environment or to trim a few dollars from your winter utility bills, here are 10 ways to reduce energy consumption without sacrificing comfort this winter.
1. Have the furnace serviced
You can reduce furnace fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent by having the system serviced yearly. Late spring or early autumn is a good time to schedule an inspection and have filters replaced in forced-air systems. All radiators and other elements should be kept free of dust.
2. Remedy drafty windows
Drafty windows not only let cold air in, but also let warm air out. This is a one-two punch in terms of energy waste, forcing heating units to work harder to regulate a consistent temperature. Caulking and weatherstripping applications are easy do-it-yourself projects. If windows are old and especially drafty, consider replacing yourhome windows. If such an undertaking will stretch your budget, use tightly sealed plastic sheeting to insulate drafty windows until you can afford to replace them.
3. Address additional leaks
Windows and doors are not the only places where cold air can get in or warm air can escape. Leaks occur around pipes and plumbing penetrations to the home, and cold air also can enter through utility cut-throughs, light plates and outlets. Use insulation or weatherstripping to seal leaks in these areas.
4. Decorate with light-colored furnishings
Light-hued walls and furniture will reflect the sunlight that makes it into a home while also reflecting artificial light more effectively than darker shades. This can help you reduce your reliance on lamps and other lighting.
5. Make use of the sun
In the winter, the sun’s rays are not as powerful as during other seasons. That’s due to the tilt of the planet’s axis. However, you can still maximize daylight time for warmth. Open curtains and drapes on southern-facing windows and let warm sunlight shine through. Then close the curtains again when evening falls. You may be able to turn down the heat during the day when the sun is warming your home.
6. Use fireplaces properly
Fireplaces can be unnecessary sources of drafts and leaks. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter, allowing warm air to go right up the chimney. When the fireplace is in use, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open the nearest window slightly and close doors leading into the room. If your fireplace is more decorative than functional, keep the damper closed at all times and consider sealing the chimney.
7. Conduct an energy audit
A home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment, is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate which measures you can take to make your home more energy-efficient. Many times these government-sponsored programs are free, and an auditor will go through your home with a fine-toothed comb looking for potential energy losses. After the audit is conducted, you can choose which repairs or modifications make the most sense for your budget and needs.
8. Adjust the direction of your ceiling fan blades.
Blades that spin clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during the cooler months. Adjust your ceiling fan to a low setting to gently push hot air back down.
9. Wear warmer clothes
Layer clothing when you’re in the house to reduce the need to adjust the heat. A sweater, pair of thick socks and a throw blanket can keep you cozy.
10. Only heat the rooms you use
Close off venting or turn off radiators in spaces that are not in use. There is no point in heating unoccupied rooms.
Any modifications you make to insulation, window drafts, thermostats, and HVAC systems are not just beneficial for the winter, but they also should help you save money and energy in the summer, too. You would have to use all of these tips to benefit and conserve energy.
As with everything we advise, please be safe! Heating your home presents a few hazards that can be avoided with a little common sense. If you still aren’t experiencing the comfort you feel like you should it may be time to replace roofing, siding or windows, and doors. Amazing Home Contractors in Maryland would love to assess your home’s exterior. An improvement outside your home can make the environment inside your home more comfortable. Contact us for fair honest pricing.