Winter Home Energy Efficiency Advice

Winter Home Energy Efficiency Advice

With winter just around the corner and our first snow in Hampton Roads under our belts, we have 7 helpful tips for increasing your home’s energy efficiency, saving you money and keeping you comfortable all season long. 

Tip #1: Let the sunshine in

Take advantage of the world’s most energy-efficient heat source: the sun! Open the curtains of any south-facing windows during the day to naturally heat and brighten up your home, remembering to close them at sunset to keep the heat inside.

Tip #2: Thicken up your insulation

To calculate if you have enough attic insulation means measuring its R-value. If you find that your attic could use some additional insulation, increasing the overall R-value will help save on energy costs year-round

Tip #3: Switch the rotation of your ceiling fan

Don’t forget that your ceiling fans are more than just an additional source of cool air. Hot air rises so the heat that your furnace is using may not consistently be reaching you. In order to reverse this, switch the rotation to a clockwise direction to help push the warm air back down to your level.

Tip #4: Consider a space heater

Heating an entire house when you are only using a room or two may be a waste of money. Consider turning the main heat in your house down a bit, and supplement with a new efficient portable heater for the frequently used areas like your living room or bedroom to lower the overall cost of heating during the winter season. Be sure and strictly observe all heating equipment’s instructed safety precautions.

Tip #5: Seal your chimney

Your chimney acts similarly to an open window, allowing your expensive heated air to escape right out the top. Be sure to keep your damper closed when the fireplace is not in use; check the seal on the flue damper to make sure it’s closed tightly. 

Tip #6: Find and seal leaks

In many homes, especially older ones, a significant amount of cold air can seep into your home under exterior doors, through gaps around the chimney, around the windows, and even through openings such as electrical outlets. These types of drafts can keep your home from properly heating, driving up your heating bill. 

Your MSCO technician can help you determine how to detect air leaks and make recommendations to help eliminate them. 

Tip #7: Invest in a smart thermostat

Unfortunately, cranking up the temperature on your thermostat in an attempt to blast heat into your home is not effective or energy efficient. Your house will generally warm up at the same rate, regardless of the number of degrees between your setting and the actual temperature. Instead, invest in a smarter thermostat to stay comfortable all day long and save significantly on heating costs. Here are some tips to help you find the most energy-efficient settings for your smart thermostat:

  • If you’re at home during the day, set your thermostat as low as will allow you to remain comfortable. Remember that wearing light layers of clothing will insulate you and help maintain body temperature.

When you are asleep or away from the house, lowering your thermostat by 10-15° for eight hours at a time can save up to 10% per year on your heating bills.

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