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10 cold weather energy-saving tips that you might overlook

New England got its first taste of winter weather last week when an October nor’easter pummeled the region. If you know anything about New England weather, it’s that Mother Nature is fickle here. Don’t wait to get your home ready for the cold months ahead. Here are 10 cold weather energy-saving tips that you might overlook.

#1. Install a smart thermostat.

A smart thermostat gives you the power to control your home’s indoor temperature from your phone. Whether you’re away from home or comfortably tucked in bed, a few app taps can adjust the temperature. Lowering the temperature 7° to 10° for an eight-hour period—like when you’re at work or sleeping—can save you up to 10% on your heating costs!

#2. Change the direction of your ceiling fan blades.

Remember the science class lesson that explained that hot air rises? Use your ceiling fan to force the warm air back down where you want it in the cold weather. Set your ceiling fan blades to move clockwise, which pushes the air down instead of pulling it up. 

#3. Harvest the sunshine for heat.

The sun is a natural source of heat. Let the sunshine in during the day. Pull back the curtains and open the shades. When the sun goes down, conserve energy in your home by using insulated window drapes, curtains, and shades.

#4. Put a jacket on your water heater.

Your water heater accounts for as much as 18% of your home’s energy consumption. Don’t let the heat escape through the tank. Wrap an insulation blanket around the water heater. In addition, homeowners often have the water temperature set too high. You can lower your energy bill by lowering the temperature to 120℉. 

#5. Insulate your windows.

Thermal windows are a worthwhile investment but if it’s not in your budget right now, buy a window insulation kit. The thick plastic sheet easily adheres to windows and prevents the leakage that occurs from the uninsulated glass and leaks around the frame and sill. This simple step could cut as much as 14% of your heating bill during the winter.

#6. Minimize the use of exhaust fans.

The exhaust fans in your bathroom and oven hood can suck the warm air out of a room. Avoid using them too often during cold weather months.

#7. Fix the little drafts.

Drafts are sneaky little energy eaters. Check your wall outlets, window sills, and door jambs to see if cold air is coming inside. Add caulk or weatherstripping to close up those gaps.

#8. Clean your furnace filter.

A dirty furnace filter forces the appliance to work harder, which uses more energy. At the beginning of the cold weather season, have your furnace professionally serviced so you start the season with a clean system that will serve you all winter long. Then, change the furnace filter every month.

#9. Clear the way to the outside intake.

After a snowfall, clear the snow and ice that has formed around the exterior exhaust vent pipes and furnace intake. Any blockage reduces the system’s efficiency. You’ll be paying more and getting less results.

#10. Unblock vents and radiators.

Walk through your home and check the vents and radiators. Remove any furniture or items that block the flow of warm air that is pumping through these lines. While you’re looking, clean the vents to get rid of dust so it doesn’t blow into the air you’re breathing.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep your home safe, comfortable, and energy efficient. Make a plan to work through this list of 10 cold weather energy-saving tips that you might overlook.

Kettler Forlines Homes has earned the EPA’s prestigious Indoor airPLUS Leader Award twice (2015 and 2020), one of a very few homebuilders in the country to receive the honor. We put our best effort into ensuring that every home we build delivers long-lasting value, which includes energy efficiency and healthy indoor air. If you’re thinking of buying or building a new home in the DC Metro area—or remodeling your home—please talk to us first!