As a nation, we may endlessly disagree when it comes to the odd storytelling choices that concluded Game of Thrones. Nevertheless, we can all agree that winter is no longer coming. It has now arrived. Temperatures are dropping. Your heating bill is rising. And well, if we can save some money and be more energy-efficient by fighting off the real-life cold this year, isn’t that a dragon we can all hope to slay? So how do we do it? It starts with these three key areas in the home.
Your windows are about as bad at preventing heat from escaping your home as the warden in Shawshank Redemption was at keeping Andy Dufrense in his cell (apologies for spoiling a movie from 1994!).
But windows can help let heat in as well. Open your curtains and blinds during the day to allow the sun’s rays naturally heat your home. Keeping your windows clean helps even more of that heat come through. Then, close your curtains at night to reduce any draft that may be caused by leaks in your windows or frames.
To prevent unnecessary leaks, you need proper window coverings. For instance, the Department of Energy recommends using “a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months.” The plastic needs to be sealed tightly to the frame as well to provide maximum protection against the leaks. Additionally, consider drapes or shade that are tight-fitting and thick so better insulation is added to block drafts.
Facing adversity and unexpected setbacks in life, it is wise to tell a struggling friend the old adage “when one door closes, another one opens.” But if you take this advice literally this winter, you’re going to have some wild heating bills.
Anyways, doors are big offenders when it comes to heat loss. That’s because there are a number of ways heat escapes through a door. Therefore, there are also a number of ways you can reduce heat loss. For instance, the windows on your doors can be improved with a special e-coating that shields the glass from leaking heat as a result of thermal radiation. This low-emissivity glass reduces the amount of light and heat that is transferred.
Adding weatherstripping to your doors is a common way to create a protective seal between the frame and the door. This acts like a goalie in the door cracks to keep cold air, rain, or snow from coming through.
Finally, installing doors with proper insulation is a must. Without adequate insulation in the door itself, reducing heat loss will be next to impossible. The Department of Energy has a helpful guide to assess R-values in your doors to ensure its insulation is up to the task.
Your chimney and fireplace are Santa Claus’ preferred area of entry into the house because much like the cold air outside, he knows this is the best place to attempt a home invasion.
It’s important that you literally put a damper on the situation. Unless a fire is burning, keep the damper closed all winter. This is the easiest area for warm air to escape. If you don’t plan to ever use your fireplace, you can always plug and seal the chimney flue for a one-time solution that lasts the entire season. Double check the seal on the fireplace flue damper to make sure it’s tight.
Do you have tempered glass on your doors? For those that regularly use their fireplace, this is a great way for trapping and transferring heat inside the house.
Finally, adding caulking to the fireplace hearth protects against unnecessary leaks.
Attacking these three areas of the home and reducing heat loss now will provide you with years of savings on your heating bill. Don’t let these simple fixes fall through the cracks.