· Make sure to seal off drafty doors and windows with clear heavy plastic. If you have multiple doors but only use one or two as entrance/egress, seal the other doors with heavy plastic as well. You can hang thermal curtains on your windows to help prevent drafts. Make sure that there aren’t any drafts coming in under doors. Consider adding draft-stoppers or, simply, rolled up towels, along the bottoms of doors and windows.
· If you have a conventional electric water heater, wrap the heater with insulation and/or heavy blankets. If you have a gas water heater, do not do this due to dangerous safety hazards it can cause. We have a tankless electric hot water heater, so this is a step we can skip. Consider installing a timer on your electric water heater so it isn’t heating a whole tank of water when you don’t need it.
· Don’t forget your water pipes. The hot and cold pipes should be insulated to prevent frozen pipes during the Winter months. Our water is pumped from the natural spring a bit of a distance from the house. Our first Winter here, we ended up with frozen pipes in the spring house. Trying to insulate pipes in freezing weather is something I wouldn’t recommend, based on personal experience. Hopefully, you’ve planned ahead during the warm months to assure that all of your pipes are well insulated before the temperatures drop. Also, don’t forget the pipes in your basement or crawlspace. Sometimes out of sight is out of mind can cause serious problems to arise.
· How is your weather stripping around your doors and windows? Check to make sure that it is sealing properly and, if not, replace it.
· If you haven’t done so yet, install foam insulators behind the wall plates of light switches and electrical outlets to cut down on drafts.
· Install a dryer vent seal to prevent cold air from entering or being drawn back into your home. Don’t piece mill your laundry. Do all of your loads of laundry in one day (if possible). Use the clothes dryer for consecutive loads of laundry. This conserves the energy that would be needed to heat up the dryer several times and will generate heat in your laundry room, too.
· If you have an attached garage, cut down on the drafts by insulating the garage walls and ceiling and only open the garage door to pull in and out. Keep the doors closed otherwise. And, never leave your car running (to warm up) while it is in the garage. Carbon monoxide will be released into the house, which is extremely dangerous.
· If you have folding attic stairs, insulate the door and, if you don’t access the attic often, seal over the opening with heavy plastic.
· If you spend most of your time in one or two rooms, keep the doors closed to all of the other rooms (and keep the vents closed in those rooms). Keep all of the closet doors closed. Dress warmly and always wear socks and shoes/slippers. This allows you to keep the thermostat set at a lower temperature. By dressing warmly when you are inside you are less likely to raise the temperature on the thermostat.
· If you’re cooking, try to use your oven during the colder hours of the day to help heat your home. You can cook your meals, then re-heat when it is time to serve meals.
Please note that much of this publication is based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence. Although the author has made every reasonable attempt to achieve complete accuracy of the content, they assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Also, you should use this information as you see fit, and at your own risk. Your particular situation may not be exactly suited to the examples illustrated here; in fact, it’s likely that they won’t be the same, and you should adjust your use of the information and recommendations accordingly.
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