When the freezing temperatures and howling winds of winter descend, it’s time to fire up the furnace, boiler, or stove and fills your home with heat. It can cost a pretty penny, but a warm and cozy interior is a necessity when living in a region that experiences extreme winter weather conditions.
Of course, just because you have no choice about heating your home interior doesn’t mean you want to pay to heat the outside. When your home heating bills skyrocket, it’s time to ask yourself whether or not the heat you’re producing is staying inside or if the bought air is getting out.
What can you do to ensure that you’re trapping heat inside during the winter? Here are just a few strategies to control your utility bills while maintaining a comfortable interior temperature all winter long.
Home Energy Audit
If you suspect hot air is leaking outside, the first thing you should do is conduct a home energy audit. A professional technician can inspect your structure from top to bottom and run tests to determine where energy waste is occurring, including where the bought air is leaking out.
While home energy auditors are not qualified to fix issues of energy waste, they will provide you with a detailed report on the state of your structure, and often, recommendations about how to fix said problems. From there you can begin to make your home more airtight and energy efficient.
In some cases, keeping the heat in your home is as simple as sealing up leaks around windows, doors, vents, pipes, and other common points of ingress (where cold air gets in and hot air gets out). In many cases, this can be accomplished by spending just a few bucks at your local hardware store.
The seams around windows and doors can be sealed with weather stripping to stop drafts. This can consist of temporary, stick-on strips that you remove when the weather warms, or you could install more permanent strips. As for vents and pipes, some form of caulking or foam filler can help to close gaps and prevent leakage.
Windows are one of the most common areas of heat loss during the winter, for obvious reasons. Glass simply isn’t as insulative as your walls. That said, there are a couple of ways to improve the insulative properties of your windows.
If you’re dealing with single-paned glass, you could upgrade to double- or triple-paned options that feature gases trapped between panes to create added layers of insulation between the inside of your home and exterior elements. If you simply can’t afford this upgrade, adding storm windows on the outside could be a more affordable option that virtually accomplishes the same goal.
However, if you can afford to upgrade, you’ll find that new windows deliver the best results, and subsequently, the greatest savings on your heating bills. In other words, you’ll recoup some of your initial expense, and you’ll also have a great selling point when it comes time to put your home on the market.
During your energy audit, you may discover that your insulation is old and deteriorated, or perhaps that it’s simply insufficient for your needs. Adding or replacing insulation in walls is a pain, but it can make a major difference in the comfort level in your home, as well as the cost of heating.
An easier proposition is adding or replacing insulation in the attic. As you probably know, heat rises, and this makes insulation in the top of your home extremely important. When insulation is inadequate, heat will escape through the roof of your home. Proper insulation, on the other hand, will hold heat in.
There’s no denying that upgrading insulation can be expensive, but would you rather spend major money every winter for heat that escapes to the outside? When you put your money toward improving insulation, you’ll not only save on heating bills for years to come, but you’ll also enjoy a more comfortable home interior in the process.
There’s a lot you can do on your own to improve energy efficiency and avoid paying to heat the outside, but at some point you might have to get some professional help. Once you’ve winterized your home, it’s time to call in your HVAC technician or Quarles Propane and Oil Heat professional to make sure your system delivers peak performance. With proper maintenance and repairs, your heating system will function properly to keep your home warm and cozy all winter without waste or increased cost.