Whether you've been working remotely or helping the kids with schoolwork, you've probably been spending a lot more time at home. As the seasons changed and the temperatures dropped, you may have noticed your utility bills going up and your comfort level going down.
You'll be happy to know there are some easy ways to weatherproof your home to save money and improve the overall comfort of your home.
Your heating bill will comprise the biggest part of your monthly budget, so consider some of these ways to lower it:
Reduce Heat Loss
First, you'll want to take care of air leaks and drafts. They make your home uncomfortable and your furnace work harder. To find the biggest offenders for heat loss, walk around the inside and outside of your home. Most adjustments are fairly inexpensive and can be easily handled yourself. Be on the lookout for these common problem areas:
- Windows and doors—look for gaps around the window frames outside and fill with caulking. For inside gaps, you may need to remove window trim to insert insulation. You can also seal the entire window with clear polyethylene film—kits can be found at your local home improvement center. Exterior door leaks can be fixed by adding weatherstripping and a bottom door sweep.
- Electrical outlets—put your hand close to electrical outlets on a windy day. You'll probably notice cold air leaking through those on outside walls. Take the covers off and install foam insulation kits right to the back of the plates. Use foam plugs in unused outlets. You can fill open areas around the box with regular insulation.
- Baseboards—if you've got a basement, you may notice air infiltration along your baseboards. Use fiberglass insulation to fill in gaps in the header area from below.
- Other openings—a ton of air leakage occurs around pipes, dryer vents, fans, wiring and cables. Save even more by caulking or sealing around these problem areas.
- Wood fireplace/stove flue—when you're not using it, make sure you keep the damper closed to keep heat from escaping and outside air from leaking in.
Upgrade Insulation and Equipment
Weatherproofing your home is more than just keeping the cold air out, it also is a process for making your home as efficient as possible against seasonal changes and severe temperature fluctuations.
As your home ages, its HVAC equipment and insulation becomes less efficient. This means your furnace will run longer and more often to offset cold outside temperatures. It might be time to upgrade.
While you might be able to tackle some of these items as a DIY project, you might want to consider hiring a handyman or contractor to handle the bigger jobs. Check your local municipality for the availability of rebates or low-cost loans to offset the cost of energy-efficient improvements.
- Smart Thermostat—there are a variety of styles and models available including Wi-Fi connected units that can adjust temperatures for the maximum comfort and efficiency. Many have customizable, built-in features for zone heating, voice control, smart home systems, and even maintenance notifications that can be sent right to your Smartphone.
- Insulation—over the years, standard fiberglass insulation settles in attic areas and the R-value (how well it resists heat transfer) is reduced. The higher the R-value, the more efficient it is. There are several types of insulation to choose from with different levels of difficulty to install—loose fill, batt, rigid or semi-rigid, or spray foam. You can purchase any of these from a building supply center or they can be professionally installed.
- Furnace—at the minimum, you'll want to replace your furnace filter. Clogged with dust and dirt, airflow is reduced and your furnace needs to work harder. If your furnace is more than ten years old, you should consider replacing it. You may be able to save thousands of dollars in rebates by installing a new ENERGY STAR-rated, high-efficiency furnace. Depending on where you live, you may be able to save up to $115 per year in energy costs. Make sure to have annual maintenance check ups done to keep your equipment running at peak efficiency.
- Windows—if you've got old, deteriorating or damaged windows, replacing them can help you save on your home heating bills this winter. Energy-efficient features such as double- and triple-pane windows insulate well and reduce condensation. Adding LoE glass coatings will block heat loss and harmful UV rays. Save even more by adding Argon or Krypton gas between the panes to reduce cold transfer between glass layers.
Let Puls Take Your Weatherproofing to a New Level
Don't let Old Man Winter make you uncomfortable or cost you money, hire a Puls handyman to take care of all your weatherproofing needs. Let our skilled technician caulk your windows, seal up problematic air leaks, install a smart thermostat, or replace your furnace filter.
Puls takes pride in making your life easier with convenient, online appointment scheduling. We're available when you're available. With reasonable rates and cost-efficient membership programs, you can keep your home operating at peak efficiency all year long.
Call or click today to schedule an appointment. Weatherproofing your home will never be easier and the money you save on heating bills might let you enjoy some fun winter activities too.