Does the prospect of soaring winter heating bills give you the chills? You can slash your winter electricity bills and prevent emergency repairs with these simple home maintenance tips.
Prevent frozen pipes by caulking and sealing gaps in the insulation and crawl spaces that will expose pipes to cold air. Insulate pipes which touch metal framing beams that go outside. Ensure that all exterior pipes are well insulated and that hoses and outdoor spigots are drained.
Give your furnace and heating system an annual checkup. Get a licensed technician to service your furnace and check your ducting for gaps, rust and holes. Clean filters and check that vents are not blocked by furniture. Cleaning or replacing your filters regularly could save 5-15% on your energy bill.
If you have a home with radiator heating, bleed the radiators to let any air escape to improve efficiency.
Caulk your gaps to prevent that precious warm air from leaking out. Check lighting fittings, plumbing openings, doors and windows for any gaps that you can seal.
If you are checking lights, ensure that your switches are insulated especially switches mounted on exterior walls. Uninsulated switches are basically holes in your wall through which heated indoor air is escaping.
Check seals around doors and windows for cracks or gaps and consider installing storm doors and windows to reduce drafts and improve the efficacy of your building envelope.
Check that your fireplace flue is in good working order and have your chimney cleaned to reduce the risk of fire from creosote buildup. Store your wood in a dry place away from the home. Wood that is packed up against the exterior walls of your home may encourage termites and other pests.
Flush your water heater annually to remove the layer of sediment that often accumulates on the bottom of the tank. This will help to improve the efficiency of your water heater.
Clean your gutters of fall leaves so any snow melt can run off instead of freezing and creating ice dams.
Energy monitors help you to keep tabs of the energy you are using. Homeowners who installed energy monitors saved 8% on their energy bills on average. Check with your local energy provider—many of them offer monitors free of charge.
Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order and change the batteries.
Treat your exterior door locks with powdered-graphite lubricant so that they don’t freeze or stick when the cold weather comes.
Change the direction of your ceiling fans; all your hot air rises, so using your fans to push it back into the room and circulate the air will help to keep you cozy.