What’s the one thing that’s dreaded more than a big snowstorm in winter? Those huge energy bills that come from cranking up the heat. Fortunately there are quite a few ways to remedy that problem. Let it snow!
Truth be told, a well-insulated home shouldn’t require hefty heating to stay warm. In fact, there are a lot of ways you can help keep your home toasty while dramatically reducing that energy bill. Not a believer? Below, check out six big and little ways you can stay warm and save energy this winter, and for many winters to come.
1. Re-insulate your Attic
Most homeowners don’t realize that the insulation in your attic should be checked every few years to ensure it’s still at the proper thickness — about 15" is ideal though 20" isn’t uncommon. If your insulation has become too thin, there will be a greater transfer of energy through the roof and your home won’t be able to retain much heat. To fix this problem, you can either hire a contractor or go to your local home improvement warehouse to find the right type of insulation for your home and have it installed before those snowflakes start flying.
2. Consider a Metal Roof
While a metal roof can be a big investment, it can also drastically reduce your energy bills because of how well it insulates your home. Metal roofs are also much more durable than wood or asphalt shingles and are virtually impermeable to leaks. Plus, the slick surface allows snow to slide right off, so you don’t have to worry about cave-ins or other structural damage you certainly won’t want to deal with in winter!
3. Install New Windows
Like roofs, windows are a major source of energy transfer in your home. Cheap or old windows are prone to cracking in the cold, and ice and hail can weaken the frame further. Once your window seals fail, your heat will go flying out of your home and the bills will start skyrocketing. Installing energy-efficient windows made out of wood or fiberglass is the best way to help keep the warm air in and protect yourself from the worst weather winter has to offer.
4. Purchase Insulating Drapes
If you live in a really cold climate, you may want to insulate your windows even further. Many home decorating and improvement stores offer insulated drapes, which have several layers of insulating fabrics that prevent cold air from getting through your windows and into your rooms. This is also a great option to consider if you’re not able to completely replace new windows, as it’s quite cheap and very effective at keeping your home warm without relying on the heater.
5. Weatherproof Windows and Doors
Another inexpensive way to insulate old windows and doors is with weather stripping. Available in either foam or rubber strips, simply remove the adhesive backing and stick along the sash to prevent cold air coming up between the panes or through the bottom sill. You can also seal up any non-essential doors in your home with weather stripping, or get a wind guard. That’s a long, weighted fabric tube that lays along the bottom of your door, preventing cold air from getting in through the crack. It gets easily pushed aside when entering or exiting, and they’re available at most home decor shops for very little money.
6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
It’s easy to forget to turn down the heat before you leave for the day, which can be a costly mistake. If the heat is on and nobody is home, that’s a whole lot of money going nowhere. A programmable thermostat can be set to turn the heat up or down during certain times of the day, so you don’t have to give it a second though. Some thermostats even “learns" when people leave the house, so you really never have to worry about the heat again!
Keeping your energy bills low in the winter isn’t very difficult and is largely inexpensive. All it takes is a quick sweep of your home to figure out where the cool spots are, a trip to your local home improvement warehouse for some supplies, and you’re in business.
About the Author: Paul Kazlov is a “green" home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green" products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov