Eco Home Living

Published on November 8th, 2011 | by Guest Contributor


More Tips on Winterizing Your Home To Save Energy


Every homeowner is concerned about high energy costs during the winter season. After all, in many regions of the country severe cold temperatures can carry on for months with very few breaks. There are many energy saving home improvements you can do around the house to save high utility bills in the winter. But aside from burning less fuel the most important issue regarding cutting costs is energy efficiency. This entails improving how a house distributes heat and taking measures to prevent heat loss or cool air gain.

Here are a few easy, green-minded, cost saving, energy efficient tips to keep your house warm this winter.

Inspect for drafts

It only makes sense that most drafts in a home come from windows and doors because they are the widest corridors between the inside and outside of a house. Therefore, they should be the initial line of defense in guarding from cold air infiltration and heat loss. When cold air enters or hot air exits it usually makes heating systems work harder, especially when they are keeping a set temperature.

The easiest way to check for drafts is to light a candle holding it in varying places around the edges of windows and doors and if the flame flickers one probably exists. When this occurs search the exterior of the home for cracks around window and door frames and use caulk to seal them. If the cracks in question were caulked during a previous season you may want to remove the old filling before applying the new layer.

Weather strip

A further plan against heat loss and cold air infiltration is to weather strip windows, doors and other areas like entrances to attics. Weather stripping works a little differently than caulk as it adds a protective seal between the crease of the openings and the frame.

While the materials are very reasonably priced and fairly simple to install just remember that when purchasing weather stripping indicate if it is for windows or doors and follow the directions so the stripping fits right and does its job well.

Bleeding radiators

Radiators generally work by heating and cooling water which often creates air bubbles. Over time the bubbles have a tendency to get trapped in the radiator’s coils displacing some of the water. When this occurs a radiator doesn’t function optimally and can end up costing the homeowner significant cash due to poor heat distribution. When a radiator’s upper section appears cooler than the lower section this usually indicates there is a problem and it needs to be bleed.

Bleeding a radiator should be done at least once a year, most likely in the fall, and doesn’t require a heating repair or handyman.

Clean window panes

Although the sun only provides heat during the daylight hours it’s an attractive heating source since sunlight beaming through windows can take the chill off the interior giving a little relief from the storm.

However, dust particles that naturally collect on window panes have the ability to filter out some of those important rays. Washing windows well on both sides will invite the sun back into your home at full strength.

Gutter maintenance

A home’s gutters have an extremely sensitive mission before them: they must help guide water from the roof towards downspouts and ultimately away from the foundation. Without their aid larger flows of water would pour down home exteriors potentially reeking havoc on windows, doors, exterior paint, and even concrete driveways .

Sometimes this causes or directly contributes to the cracks around windows and doors where heat escapes and cold infiltrates

For this reason alone cleaning out vegetation and other organic debris like tree branches or leaves from the gutters at least twice a year (in the fall and spring) can help prevent serious structural issues that can lead to energy loss.

Sustainable insulation

Installing insulation is an integral part of improving any home’s energy use since without it money goes down the drain. This is especially true of older homes, most of which weren’t built with energy efficiency in mind.

The problem is that non-sustainable materials made from chemicals come with health concerns and although sustainable materials such as sheep wool, flax, and cellulose are available they are often very pricy.

Since the latter is preferable but the cost may determine its fate one option is to keep up with preventing drafts and water leakage and make installing insulation more affordable by prioritizing and spreading the work over a couple of years.

It may take longer to complete the process but in the end you’ll look back knowing a good decision was made for the future of your family and the walls that keep it safe.

Jakob Barry writes for, on various home improvement topics, including electrical services and garage door repair.

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