With the Massachusetts winter coming, I thought it was important to review a few simple tips to help you winterize your home and save some money in the process. While most of these tips are really simple, cost little, and can help reduce your energy bill, they are important to do to to keep up with your home maintenance.
Insulate your attic. One of the easiest ways to save some money is to ensure that you have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic. Hot air rises and through the attic is where it’ll go unless you sufficient insulate it. If you go into the attic and you can see the ceiling joists you know you don’t have enough, because a ceiling joist (wooden beams) is at most 10 or 11 inches.”
Wrap your water boiler. Since it’ll be cold, it’s more important than ever to invest in a water heater blanket and warp your water heater so it loses less heat into the ambient air.
Open the blinds in sunny rooms. Be sure to keep the blinds open on any rooms that get a lot of sun, ever little bit of extra heat can help keep those bills down.
Get a programmable thermostat and consider lowering the temperature setting on your thermostat. Programmable thermostats can help you save a ton of money by only turning on when you most need it. All HVAC systems work the same way – they are either on or off (there’s no low, medium, or high intensity setting). If you can keep your system off when you’re not home or when you’re asleep, you can save yourself a lot of money. They are easy to install and often break-even (cost vs. savings) within the first year.
A lower temperature means the system is on less, so try lowering the temperature a degree at a time. You’ll either adjust or reach a point where the temperature is far too low. There’s no sense dropping the temperature so low that you get sick, that just doesn’t make financial sense. And put on a sweater.
Check the furnace and replace the filter
First, turn your furnace on now, to make sure it’s even working, before the coldest weather descends. A strong, odd, short-lasting smell is natural when firing up the furnace in the autumn; simply open windows to dissipate it. But if the smell lasts a long time, shut down the furnace and call a professional.
It’s a good idea to have furnaces cleaned and tuned annually. We have a service contract with our oil company that covers this. Costs will often run about $100-$125. An inspector should do the following, among other things:
During the winter, when the system will run more often, it’s good to replace it monthly so that you don’t have a dirty air filter ruining the efficiency of the system.
Turn off exterior water lines. Chances are you won’t be using any of the water faucets outside of your home, so shut the valve that allows water to those exterior bibs. This prevents the water inside from freezing and cracking your pipes.
Flip the switch on your ceiling fan. “Reversing your ceiling fan is an easy6 tip that people don’t often think of. By reversing its direction from the summer operation, the fan will push warm air downward and force it to recirculate, keeping you more comfortable.
This home tips have been brought to you by Lew McConkey
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