“Baby it’s cold outside” is not just a song you hear at Christmastime. You’re likely to hear these words often during January or February here in Ocala as temperatures can drop to freezing or below.
Just recently we saw low temperatures in the 30s and a high of only 48. This first blast of arctic air can have many homeowners wondering what they can do to best fend off winter’s attack.
As general contractors and home builders in Ocala, we at Boutwell Contracting & Development want to help our clients and readers of this blog winterize their homes and save energy. While we all like to stay warm inside our homes, no one likes a giant heating bill afterwards. With that in mind, here are five low-cost ways to winterize your home.
Keep Out the Drafts
Install weather stripping along the bottom of your exterior doors. This can prevent heat from escaping from your home. Also go old school and use a draft-dodger like your grandmother did. If you don’t havea one, simply roll up a towel and press it against the bottom of your door to keep the cold air out. Drafts like that can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fan Flow
People often think ceiling fans are just for the summer. But if you reverse the fan direction to clockwise, it can actually be beneficial during the winter, too. This pulls warm air up to the ceiling and circulates it back into the living space. Doing so can cut your heating bills by up to 10 percent.
Change your Filters
Make sure you change your filters on your heating unit every month during the winter. This helps to ensure your unit is running properly. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and cause the unit to run longer, which can result in a higher bill. And no one wants that.
Turn Down Your Water Heater
We all like warm showers during the winter. They’re a must for sure. But water heaters are typically set at 140 degrees when they are installed, which is hotter than we really need. In fact, it can actually be unsafe if you have children in the home. It also takes energy to get the water that hot so consider reducing the temperature to 120 degrees or lower. This could reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent.
Watch that Thermostat
Last but not least is the thermostat. Sure you want your house to be warm during the winter but don’t overdo it. You don’t need to be walking around your house in shorts and a bikini. The Department of Energy suggests setting it at 68 degrees during the day and lower when you go to bed. Wear a sweater or grab your favorite fleece or sweatshirt to wear around the house. Turning down the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for at least eight hours can save 5 to 15 percent a year on your heating bill. The savings can be as much as 1 percent for each degree if the period is eight hours or longer. You may want to consider a programmable thermostat that lets you schedule adjustments.
What do you think about these low-cost ways to winterize your home? Do you have others to share? Comment below or on any of our social channels. And if you’re in the market for a new custom-built home, contact us today. We’d love to build you an brand new energy-efficient home that will keep your family warm and save energy at the same time.