The snow has officially arrived! That means that the cold weather will be here to stay for the next few months. Heating can be expensive, and I want to provide you with some ways to keep your homes warm for the winter. Bill Stack, the Energy Efficiency Manager for Eversource in New Hampshire was recently interviewed specifically about this topic. Here are some of the tips he had.
Smart Thermostat - Eversource offers a $100 rebate for a smart thermostat. They offer great features that can help keep your home warm, and monitor your home's temperature even when you're away.
HVAC systems - Make sure your system has been tested, and your furnace filter has been changed once a month during the winter months. Filters are cheap, and improve the efficiency level of your furnace.
Air sealing - If you are in your basement, and you turn off all the lights but you can still see daylight coming in from outside, you may need to do some air sealing. You can add things like weather-stripping to doors, spray-foam insulation to gaps and cracks (like where pipes or wires come into the home), and door sweeps to the thresholds of doors.
Windows - Make sure windows are properly caulked so there are no drafts coming in from around window trims. Also, make sure windows close properly and you are able to lock them. Locked windows help create a better seal to keep out cold air.
Energy Assessment - Eversource offers FREE home energy assessments. These can be done virtually, and a representative will go through your home to make suggestions on energy saving options.
My girlfriend's home is a split level house built in 1964. Over the summer we had worked on a project of cleaning out a closet under the central stairwell. Because the home is a split level, the concrete foundation is exposed under the stairs and so are the floor-joists. While I was under the stairs, I could feel a breeze blowing in from outside, and I was actually able to watch the spiderwebs above my head sway in the draft.
I decided to take a look around the house and see if there were any other spots that the elements could be getting in. A can of "Great Stuff" or other spray foam insulation can go a long way to fill gaps, cracks, and holes in your home where heat could be getting out.
I ended up going with a pest resistant series from Great Stuff brand. I used it where the foundation and the framing meet under the stairs I mentioned earlier, (as well as some other holes and cracks I found) and was able to practically eliminate any breeze that was coming in. I also decided to put in some fiberglass insulation in, in order to really seal in that space.
After going through those spaces, I decided to address some of the other areas of concern. I bought a new threshold to go under one of the exterior doors, and some weatherstripping to go around the front door. These steps helped dramatically decrease the drafts, but the really test will be what the heating bill looks like next month compared to what it has been in prior years. Time will tell!