This year’s end promises to be a particularly cold one. Early Winter is upon us, yet already portions of the U.S. have been wracked by mid-winter style snowstorms, with temperatures dipping well below freezing. Reactionary home owners might be tempted to crank up their heaters in anticipation for further chilly weather, but environmentally (and financially) conscious homeowners should stop and think before touching the thermostat.
There’s no use avoiding the fact that going green in the wintertime might be a little tougher than in the warmer months. With less daylight and constant cold temperatures, homeowners will have to use all their resources to safeguard their homes in order to stay warm. Less sunlight also means that solar energy sources won’t be producing electricity at optimum levels, so those who subscribe to green energy companies will see their bills rise during wintertime. But there are ways to cut energy costs this season without allowing your house to turn into an icebox.
Dress for warmth inside
Ok, this might not seem like the most enlightening piece of advice, but you’d be amazed at how much money you can save by wearing extra clothing in your home. When you feel a chill in you house, try putting on some thick wool socks, pajama pants, or even a comfy beanie to combat the cold. Your body heat will stay trapped against your skin when you bundle up; simply walk around your house for a bit while fully clothed and you might just reconsider turning on the heater. Keep your warm clothes on when you go to bed at night and you might not even have to touch the heater!
Inspect and make safe sources of heat
It’s critical that you check all major heating sources before the serious winter season sets in so you can warm your house safely when the temperature outside starts dropping dramatically. If you have a functioning fireplace, for example, check that the flue (the inside of the chimney) is clear and unobstructed by sooty buildup before you consider starting a fire. Most chimney related hazards could be avoided by taking a few minutes to ensure a clear passage for the smoke from your fire.
Also be sure to check your water heater and water pipes to ensure that they’re winter proof. Exposed pipes should be wrapped and secured in insulation or heating tape to prevent from cracking in freezing temperatures. As a preventative measure, a large thermal blanket should cover water heaters in order to shield them against the cold. A well-insulated water heater won’t have to work as hard to produce hot water, an effort that ends up saving you money in the long run.
If you don’t feel up to these tasks yourself, there’s no shame in hiring an experienced plumber to check and properly pad your water pipes and water heater. The fee you’d pay the plumber to secure your house’s heating system pails in comparison to the money and trouble you’d go through to repair your pipes if they broke during particularly icing weather conditions.
Seal and reinforce your windows
Homeowners in older homes should pay close attention to this tip. Oftentimes older homes retain their original windowpanes, frames, and fixtures that have deteriorated over time. It’s highly likely that these decrepit windows allow much more cold air into your home than you’d expect, keeping temperatures inside your house low despite the heater.
Like I suggested with pipes and water heaters, you can ready your windows for the winter in two ways: do it yourself or hire a professional. If you’re looking to save money then you could simply seal off cracks between windows and their frames, or invest in some heavy curtains or drapes to trap in some of the intrusive cold air.
If you’re especially industrious you could purchase and install replacement panes for your windows. But if you don’t have the time to manage the repairs yourself, don’t hesitate to call a trained window repairman to update your windows. Well-crafted windows won’t only keep out the cold during the winter; they’ll also keep your house cool in the summer.
Updating your windows could be the wisest investment you make in your hose this season.
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99ATgmailDOTcom.