According to the Department of Energy, heating costs account for approximately 29 percent of a household’s utility bill – more than any other home comfort system. Yet, short of going south for the winter or hibernating in warm layers until spring, heating your home is a necessity during our Wisconsin winters.
Fortunately, there are numerous strategies that homeowners like yourself can implement to reduce heating expenses without sacrificing comfort.
Follow these tips for a more cost-effective and eco-friendly approach to heating your home this winter.
Get a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit is a series of tests that determine the energy-efficiency of a home. Based on the findings, the person conducting the audit will recommend free and low-cost improvements to save energy immediately, plus recommend larger, more costly upgrades that can recoup your investment within a few years.
Find and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks are one of the largest contributors to energy waste, and they can’t always be seen or felt. One way to find leaks is to close all the windows and exterior doors in the house, turn off all exhaust fans, and turn off your heating system. Then, light some incense and walk slowly around the outer walls of your home. If you notice the smoke blowing toward or away from something, you may have an air leak. Common culprits are drafty windows and doors, chimneys, and gaps around electrical outlets.
Check Attic Insulation
Most homes, especially older ones, can benefit from added attic insulation. At a minimum, your home should have 6 to 13 inches of loose fill insulation or 7 to 19 inches of fiberglass batts.
Seal Basement Air Leaks
Basements are usually poorly insulated, especially in older homes. If you have an unfinished basement, seal the sill plate with silicone or acrylic latex caulk and use expanding spray foam anywhere there are gaps larger than 1/4-inch between the sill and the foundation. You can also use expanding foam to seal gaps around holes for electric, water, and gas lines.
Fill Gaps Around Plumbing Pipes
Look at where plumbing pipes enter exterior walls and you’ll probably see generous gaps around the pipes. Grab a can of expanding foam, shake it vigorously, then squirt the foam around the pipes inside the wall. The foam will expand so be sure not to completely fill the gap.
Tune Up Your Furnace
Having your furnace inspected and tuned up offers three major benefits: Increased efficiency, fewer repairs, and longer equipment lifespan. This service should be performed once a year, ideally before the heating season begins. But if you’ve yet to schedule an annual tune-up and inspection, contact Blau Sudden Service today.
In addition to helping your furnace run better and last longer, our multi-point tune-up and inspection process includes a safety inspection to look for loose or damaged electrical connections and signs of gas or carbon monoxide leaks. For the expert advice and service you deserve, contact the home comfort pros at Blau today.