With the cooler weather of fall and winter quickly approaching, many homeowners are beginning to think about keeping their home warm during the cold months. In the damp, chilly environment we have here in the Pacific Northwest, this is especially important. But, despite turning up heaters and setting fireplaces to blaze, many people will still find their homes cold! To make matters worse, this chill in the air is often coupled with rising utility costs as heaters struggle to keep up.
Before the frigid mornings and crisp evenings hit, determine whether or not your home is heat smart and energy efficient. Often a cold house is caused by insufficient or damaged insulation in the attic and/or crawl space. Here are a few tips to help you identify potential problem spots in your home related to energy efficiency.
Causes of Heat Leakage in Your Home
No one likes to wake up to a frigid house in the morning – even those of us who like a little briskness to our morning air don’t like to have a frozen nose! So, if you find yourself with a chilled home in spite of your best efforts to keep it warm, here are a few potential causes.
Drafty Windows and Doors
Gaps in window frames, around and under doorframes, and even in walls can lead to a lot of heat loss. Sealing air leaks inside your home can help save you up to 20 percent on your electric heating bill!
Damaged, thin, poorly-installed, or just old insulation can make a huge difference in the energy efficiency of your home. Whether this insulation is in your crawl space or attic, it can cause heat loss and leave your rooms cold and drafty.
Escaping or Wasted Heat
Besides gaps in windows and doors, heat can escape through chimneys. It can also be wasted by using dusty or dirty air filters in your heating system – making it run less efficiently – and by having curtains open on windows that don’t receive direct sunlight. Small tweaks in your habits can have a huge impact on the heat efficiency of your home.
Making Your Home Heat Smart
Now that you know a few of the culprits of a cold house, here are some fixes for common heat efficiency problems.
Make sure that your windows are sealed with weather stripping. Do the same with any exterior doors. If you find that there are still drafts coming in under your door, try using a door snake or even just a large, rolled-up towel pressed against the base of the door to prevent cold air from seeping in. Consider using a chimney balloon to keep cold air from pouring in, and if there are any cracks in your walls or gaps between the wall and floor, seal them up, too! Also include making sure that any entrances into your attic space from your home are sealed well.
If your insulation is damaged, wet, thin or old, it may be time to bring in professional help replace it. The proper type of insulation for your home, climate, and needs – as well as insulation that is well-installed – is vital to your home’s health. It will keep heat in your home during the cold months and cool air in during the hot months. Without proper insulation and ventilation in your attic, you will face skyrocketing utility bills, mold and mildew problems, as well pest control issues.
Other Small Tips
Here are a few other things to try that might help keep your home warmer and more energy efficient:
- Open the curtains of sun-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight in. On the flipside, close curtains when the temperature begins to drop to add a layer of insulation.
- Close the doors of rooms that aren’t in use so that your heater doesn’t have to work overtime for unused space.
- Run your ceiling fans counterclockwise during cold months to help pull hot air (which rises) back down into the room.
- Check your thermostats – don’t run them too hot, especially while you’re away from the house. Read more here.
If you’re really desperate, insulate yourself more – wear layers of socks, sweatpants and hoodies when you’re at home.
Start Saving Money on Your Heating Bill
Want to find out whether poor insulation is contributing to your home’s lack of energy efficiency? Clean Crawls offers a list of crawlspace and attic services, including insulation removal and installation.
Contact us today to find out more and to see if we can help you make your home heat smart. We look forward to hearing from you!