In the northern parts of North America, winter means higher energy costs, and who couldn’t use to save a few bucks? But regardless of what region you live in, a few simple tips can help save money on energy costs and keep your home cozy.
First, you might want to have an energy audit performed on your home. Performed by a professional, an energy audit typically checks for leaks, examines insulation, inspects the furnace and ductwork, performs a blower door test and uses an infrared camera to determine points of heat loss on your home. After the audit, you’ll have a report listing areas where heat is escaping.
One of the easiest ways to save energy is to be sure you have the appropriate amount of insulation in your attic. Fourteen to 20 inches is usually recommended. If you have less, then you’re wasting energy in both the winter and summer months. An insulation company can easily blow in more insulation to get you where you need to be.
Another simple way to reduce energy costs year round is to caulk and seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors.
Duct sealing is another way to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy bills in the summer and winter. Many homeowners choose to hire a contractor to seal their ducts, as the entire duct system will need to be checked and sealed. If you choose to seal your ducts yourself, start by sealing all leaks using mastic sealing or metal tape (NOT duct tape, as it isn’t long-lasting) and insulating all the ducts that you can access, including those in the attic, garage and crawl space. Then, make sure that the connections at the vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet floors, ceilings and walls. For more information about duct sealing, visit http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_ducts.
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