Improve your home’s energy efficiency this winter

Winterizing your home is important for your safety, but it can also contribute to energy efficiency and your comfort. So, before you curl up by the fire to play family board games or enjoy a good book, let’s make sure your home is ready for winter.
Safety first — always
Although there are many tasks that need to be done to fully winterize your home, this section is focused on activities that are most closely related to keeping you and your family safe.
It’s essential that you get your fireplace, chimney, and flue inspected before building the first fire each season. In addition to checking for animal nests and the presence of soot build-up, a chimney sweep will also inspect the brick inside your chimney for gaps and exposed walls that could be ignited by random spark.
It’s also important to have your furnace checked and tuned-up. As part of normal annual maintenance, the technician will clean vents, replace filters, check for carbon monoxide leaks, and provide an overall assessment of your heating system. If you have a whole-house humidifier, they will usually replace the humidifier pad for you at this time.
Homes with a high-efficiency gas furnace have two PVC pipes that exhaust out the side of your home. Be sure they’re free of any obstructions and check after big snowstorms to make sure snow drifts aren’t covering the pipes. This is also a good time to clean your dryer vents and check for obstructions to avoid a build-up of lint that can result in a fire.
Check the age of your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Believe it or not, they actually have expiration dates, so you don’t want to use devices that are no longer fully effective. You should also put in fresh batteries and test the detectors.

Reduce your costs, while staying warm 

While your furnace does its job to keep your home warm, you can also take a few additional steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency and overall comfort.
Start by making sure that all doors and windows seal properly. Air leaks can be eliminated or reduced with weatherstripping, fresh caulk, or foam tape. You can also help hold in the heat with heavy or thermal curtains.
If you have high ceilings, change the rotation of your ceiling fan(s). With the fan turned off, grab a stepstool and carefully reach up to flip the directional switch. When the blades are reversed, it pushes warm air downward.
Upgrading or adding insulation throughout your home can keep you warm this winter and cool during the summer, while also reducing your energy costs. An insulation expert can help you determine if your home would benefit from an update.
Taking a few moments to winterize your home now allows you to relax and enjoy the winter vistas later.
*NOTE: Everyone’s home and needs are different. These tips are shared for general informational purposes and do not constitute electrical, plumbing, roofing, or other industry advice. Please use caution when carrying out these projects and only do them during safe weather conditions. When inspecting the roof and gutters, or when working in tricky spots, be sure to have a friend or relative nearby in case of a fall or injury.
- Dec 22, 2021