Energy audit of house

With colder months quickly approaching, it can be helpful to have a checklist for winterizing your home so you are prepared and unexpected damage doesn’t occur. It’s important to look at all aspects of your property that could be affected by harsh winter weather, from the pipes in your home to the sprinkler system in your yard – make sure you have a head start!

As you go around the house making sure everything is working the way it should, there are some crucial areas to inspect before the winter months including pipes, windows, rooves, gutters, basements, attics, heaters, and thermostats. It’s likely that you may find some areas you can improve upon to make your home more comfortable and more prepared for the upcoming cold months. You may want to make these repairs quickly yourself; but, if the issues are extreme, there are plenty of professionals out there to assist you. For example, if your home’s roof is beginning to leak, you should call a roofer that can do repairs in a quick and efficient manner.

For any repairs you can do yourself, there are always ways you can do them that will be more energy efficient with some simple steps. try doing them in an environmentally efficient way with these three tips.

Winterize Your Home Efficiently

By thinking of ways you can make repairs and do updates with energy efficiency in mind, you are doing your part to save and conserve energy that will be good for your family’s budget and the environment! Almost everything we do at home uses energy and electricity; so the more we can conserve – the better! This year, you can start being more efficient by weatherizing your home.

Here are three ways to weatherize your home that will benefit you, your wallet, and the environment.

Think About Insulation

Insulation (which we’ve talked about before here) is an important piece of the puzzle when you are looking to conserve energy at home. It is what keeps warm air in and cold air out during the winter. Insulation is especially important in the attic and basement. If your insulation is old or damaged, you should get new insulation before the beginning of winter. If your insulation isn’t doing its job, your heating system will need to run more in the winter months, using more electricity than necessary. While the U.S. Department of the Interior says that by reducing the amount of heat and air you use “…almost always outweighs environmental problems associated with certain materials,” in essence, balancing out the pros and cons – you can always use eco-friendly ways to insulate your house to the designated R-value needed to reduce drafts.

  • Sheep’s Wool – This insulation is breathable and fire-resistant. Because it is natural, it soaks up moisture and condensation well on its own.
  • Icynene Spray Foam – this material can expand up to 10 times its volume and is a great impenetrable barrier. It also works well in hard to seal areas, like corners.
  • Denim – With more people turning to clothing donations to get rid of last season’s fashions, organizations are recycling them and creating a renewable product through fabric insulation.
  • Cotton – This insulation is recycled as well as renewable. Though these qualities propel it to the top of the eco-list, it isn’t as efficient as a homeowner might want.
  • Cork – Insulating with cork is not only good at being less penetrable than other sources but it is also good at controlling sound.

Pay Attention to Windows

If your windows are not sealed properly, they are likely to let in a draft. This not only makes your home colder and less comfortable, but the lack of sealant is forcing your heater to run and use more electricity than necessary. Walk around your home and look at every window to make sure there are no cracks in the caulking and that your windows are still strong and durable. If your windows develop condensation between the two panes, that is a sign that there is a leak.

Two quick ways to make your windows more environmentally friendly: reapplying caulk to replace old, moldy, or unfilled areas. Putting in storm windows is also a good idea. They look like traditional windows, but they feature an additional pane between the inside of your home and harsh elements outside. These easy-to-install windows are great for keeping warm air in and cold air out during the winter months. Plus, they will cut down your household’s electricity use and therefore lower your electricity bills. We go into a deeper dive here.

Switch to LED Bulbs

Another energy-saving hack for this winter: consider switching your home’s light bulbs to LED bulbs, especially if you live in an area that often has temperatures below freezing. Unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs will not be affected by drastically cold temperatures. LED bulbs actually become more efficient as the ambient temperature gets colder.

If you decorate your home for the holidays, you should also think about using LED lights instead of incandescent or fluorescent Christmas lights. You can save money and energy, and you won’t have to worry about the cold temps outside.

LED bulbs are also eco-friendly because they create less waste.

  • You need fewer bulbs over time because they last twice as long as standard light bulbs.
  • LEDs convert about 90% of the electricity they consume into light therefore wasting only about 10% as heat. On the other hand, incandescent bulbs only convert only about 10% of the energy consumed into light.

Create a Weather-Proof Home This Winter While Doing Your Part for the Environment

Before winter sets in, take the time to weatherize your home so you don’t find yourself with moisture indoors, using unnecessary electricity, or with excessively cold air inside your home. Taking steps towards a cleaner environment starts with you, so if you’re looking to do your part it is important to consider home improvements that are eco-friendly and energy-efficient. Not only will this benefit the environment, but it will also benefit your wallet this winter.

 

About the Author
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey. She is currently writing for Design-A-Castle, a roofing company in Medford, NJ.