Fall often blesses homeowners with lower electric bills. You’re not reliant on air conditioning anymore, and it’s too early to turn on the heat. This respite only lasts a few months before electric or natural gas bills shoot up again during winter. However, it’s possible to limit the jump in your bills by preparing your home beforehand. Follow these three steps to increase your home’s insulation this winter.
Test Your Doors and Windows for Air Leaks
Image via Flickr by Pimthida
There are a few easy ways to identify doors and windows that leak air throughout the day. The first way is to close the doors around your home before you turn the heat on. If one room is colder than the rest while you’re still blowing heat into it, the heat is probably escaping.
Next, head to the doors and windows in the area to see which ones aren’t insulated. Most heating and air experts say that if a door or window shakes gently when you touch it, or if you can see daylight around it, then there’s probably an air leak. You will want to re-seal these doors and windows before winter to reduce the amount of heat you lose throughout the season.
Inspect Your Attic and Basement for Insulation
Many attics and basements aren’t heated, which means that cool air creeps in during the winter while drawing your heat outside. It’s not necessarily cost-effective to insulate your attic fully, but you can seal the doors and hatches that provide access to the attic.
To check your attic for adequate insulation, follow the same steps you used to identify other air leaks in your home. Feel for cool drafts where air gets in or warm spots when you’re standing in the attic. These are the places to add extra insulation. You might opt for professional services or try a few DIY insulation methods. You can also re-seal the doorways or invest in draft-blockers to limit air travel.
Update Your Window Dressing With Winter-Friendly Curtains
Your curtains need to provide two services to you during the winter, and you’ll need to adjust them throughout the day. During the day, open up your curtains to let in sun and heat. The light reduces your dependence on electricity, while the sunbeams reduce the burden on your HVAC system.
During the night, close your curtains to insulate your rooms against the cold air outside. Consider switching to heavier curtains during the winter so you get more benefit. You may even want to invest in thermal curtains if you live in areas with sub-zero temperatures. Fortunately, many home decor stores sell items specific to the area, so you can find winter-friendly curtains that remain fashionable.
You shouldn’t limit yourself to turning up the heater and keeping it on longer as the main options for staying warm this winter. By following these steps, your home will warm up faster and stay comfortable longer. This will keep your family happy and your utility bills down.