Heat Drain (It’s Not Just Windows at Risk): 4 Easy Hacks to Improve Energy Efficiency

by Matty ByloosJanuary 27, 2016

Winterize Your Home and Save on Energy Bills

Hear that wind tearing at your windows and doors? That’s old man winter and he’s come a’ calling. And there’s just one thing he wants – your home’s warm air.

When it turns cold outside, your warm indoor air is constantly being stolen through tiny gaps in your window frames, outlets, doors, and other areas. The problem is, when warm air escapes, more is needed in order to maintain the temperature inside your home, and this results in a harder working furnace and higher and higher energy bills throughout winter’s months.

Luckily, we have some energy-saving hacks that can help you beat back old man winter’s grip on your home. Give these a try and stop the heat drain this winter.
open plastic vinyl window on a background blue sky

Winterize Your Windows and Doors

OK, this might not qualify as a “hack,” but if you want to conserve energy this winter, it’s something you just have to do. Check around your windows for any signs of broken or missing caulk. If you see gaps in coverage, run a fresh bead to seal them up. The same applies to your exterior doors. Check the weather stripping and replace any that’s worn, ripped, or missing.

Seal the Fireplace

The fireplace is a major source of lost heat, even with the flue shut. Therefore, when you’re not using the fireplace as a source of heat (or ambiance), seal it up using a fireplace balloon. This is a collapsible balloon that is specially made for using in fireplaces; when it is inflated, it seals the chimney so warm air can’t escape up it and cold air can’t creep down.

Makeover Your Rooms With Heavy Drapes and Thick Rugs

Few things works as well as heavy insulated drapes for keeping your warm air in. So before winter’s chill really sets in, give your rooms a makeover by swapping out the light and airy sheers for something a little more substantial.
The Modern living room in the house
If your home has hard surface flooring, then you can improve the warmth in your family room by adding a thin area rug to the floor. This will help insulate cold floors and help keep your feet from getting too cold.

Cover Your Water Heater With a Water Heater Blanket

Your hot water heater is one of the biggest energy-eaters in the winter months. This is because the tank kicks on to heat the water every time the temperature drops below its setting. And because most tanks are located in the basement (the coldest room in the house), it needs to run all the time, even when not in use!

Installing a water heater blanket on your tank will help insulate it so the water inside doesn’t cool off as quickly.

Insulate the Attic Hatch

If you have an attic door or hatch, check to see if it has a layer of insulation on the top-side of it. If it doesn’t, then this can be a major source of heat loss in your home. After all, heat rises, right? If the hatch isn’t insulated, the heat will rise right up through it and out the top of your home. Simply attaching a layer of insulation to the top-side of your attic hatch will help keep the warm air in.
A roll of insulating glass wool on an attic floor ** Note: Visible grain at 100%, best at smaller sizes

Insulate Your Exterior Wall Outlets

An exterior wall outlet includes any receptacle or light switch that is installed on one of your home’s exterior walls. Because the drywall needs to be cut in order to accommodate the outlet, it compromises the airtight nature of your home’s interior.

Resolve this by removing the outlet cover and inserting a pre-cut foam gasket between the receptacle or switch and its cover. The gasket seals up the gaps where the warm air is leaking out.

Do an Energy Audit and Enjoy a Warmer Winter

Every year before winter arrives, you should do an energy audit to ensure your home is really prepared for the cold season. This involves all of the above, as well as the following:

  • Checking and filling any air gaps in your home’s exterior, such as those around pipes and vents
  • Lowering your thermostat at night and when it’s not in use
  • Lowering the temperature on your water heater
  • Replacing the air filter on your furnace
  • Converting your incandescent lighting over to compact fluorescent

If you haven’t already done so, you should also replace your old thermostat with a newer programmable model. This will make it easier for you to customize your home’s temperature all throughout the day and night, so your heating system is only working during the hours you’re home.

This, along with all of the above hacks, can save you hundreds of dollars a year in your energy bills!

About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.
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