More Home Improvement Ideas For Winter
As the winter season sets in, one concern on every household‚Äôs mind is how to save money while heating homes cozily. Here is eight home improvement ideas for winter to keep your home warm, but your heating bills low.
8 Home Improvement Ideas For Winter
1. Start With An Energy Audit
Energy audits are great tools for assessing what in your household uses the most energy, and where energy is being wasted. Conducted by a qualified professional, the energy audit will provide detailed information about your homes energy consumption. Local power companies may offer audits for free or for a small fee to their customers. If yours does not, it is worth it to contract an audit as it pays for itself and saves you more money in the long run.
2. Fix Up Your Heating System
An efficient heating system is the next thing you should look at. Though maintenance from a professional can be costly, a properly running system will reduce your energy bill by reducing inefficient waste.
3. Convert To Gas
If you are using a traditional wood burning fireplace, consider replacing it with natural gas or propane heating. Traditional fireplaces tend to lose more energy than they produce because it releases more heat through the chimney, simultaneously adding pollutants to the air. So, consider installing gas logs instead. For air-tight homes, a direct-vent system is the best heating system, pushing warm air into the room after pulling it from outside. Even better, vent-free systems require no chimney, flue, or outside exhaust, making it a clean, inexpensive and warm alternative for heating rooms.
4. Reverse The Direction of Your Ceiling Fan
In the winter, you can use your ceiling fan to direct rising heat back down to you and your family. This involves changing the fans direction from counter-clockwise (which forces air up) to clockwise, forcing air down. Check your fan for a switch that will change the direction for you.
5. Add Extra Insulation
Looking into your homes insulation can also help retain heat in your home, especially if your house is old. One good indicator that Energy Star recommends is to look at your attic: if you can see the floor joists, you probably do not have enough insulation.
6. Invest In a New Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are useful tools that can automatically help you regulate the temperature of your home at any time of the day. With programmable thermostats, you can set your heat (or air-conditioning) to optimal temperatures, depending on the time of the day and day of the week.
With the growth of smartphone and remote technology, there are many new thermostats that allow you to program your heating and cooling systems through wireless, portable applications. Others, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, self-adjust by learning your family’s daily routine, fine tuning heating and cooling to the utmost detail.
7. Install Cellular Shades
Ill-fitting windows are common culprits for letting heat out, but replacing them can be cost-prohibitive. Cellular shades are a great alternative, and cheaper than replacing your windows. These shades are not just great for winter savings, but they also save on cooling bills in the summer by blocking heat from entering through your windows.
If your budget cannot cover the costs of installing cellular shades at every window, focus on the north and east sides of your home‚Äîthese tend to be the windows that let in most cold air.
8. Close Vents And Shut Doors
One overlooked step that involves no spending is simply shutting off unoccupied rooms. Shut the vents in unused rooms, like guest bedrooms, and keep the doors closed. This keeps circulating heated air in the rooms you are using, and reduces the amount of money spent on heating rooms not even used.
By making these improvements to your home, you will be sure to keep warm and see savings this winter.