Often times when we think of efficiency, we fall into two separate camps. The first thing is using less to save money. The second is environmental, be more efficient to reduce your footprint. I am here to make the case that the two are one and the same. That using less ultimately costs us less, which is better for our environment. Being efficient in our homes this winter means saving money, keeping your home at a cozy temperature and using less resources. It's a win - win situation.
While these efficiency improvements are specifically aimed at keeping you warmer in the cold months, they also have their benefits in the summer. Ensuring your home is well insulated helps you have better control over the temperature of your home. This means warmer in the cold months, and cooler in the warm months. There are really no downsides.
1. Get an energy audit
Mass-save is offering these for free. It’s not just so you can “go green.” An energy audit can help you better understand how your home uses energy, and where you can use less and save more.
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2. Seal it up!
Locate and seal any drafty areas you may find in your home. These drafts are sucking all the heat out of your home. Often times a can of spray foam can do the trick. Closing up these leaks may be the difference between wearing your coat inside all winter or comfortably taking it off when you arrive home. If your home uses a forced air system be sure the ducts are sealed. This is literally the intended use for duct tape, that sweet wallet you made in middle school and everything else is just a bonus.
3. Locking your Windows
This is similar to sealing up the drafts, as mentioned above, but more specific. When your windows don’t function properly they create space for air to flow through, drafts. Rather than sealing your window shut with spray foam, consider replacing some parts. You can purchase door sweeps, weatherstripping and sash locks that can improve the efficiency of your window, while still being able to open it when you want to air things out.
4. Storm Window & Doors
While in the summertime we are all to happy to have screens on our doors and windows, winter in New England is not time for such a flimsy barrier between you and the outside world. If you haven’t purchased storm windows and doors for your home, now is most certainly the time. We lose most of the heat in our homes through windows (specifically if yours are old single panes). By adding another layer we create an insulation pocket. At the very least, put some shrink wrap on those things!!
5. Replacing your windows
While this option is more large scale, it’s still worth considering. How old are your windows? Glass efficiency has come a long way, if you are still rocking single panes, it’s time to consider biting the bullet. New windows may have a high cost up front, but think of all the money you will save this winter, and the many, many winters that follow. It’s worth it in the long run.
The following is a true story, adapted from a 1921 edition of the American Journal of Ophthalmology...