Prepping for winter: Energy and money saving home updates / by Mark Schmidt

Schmidt Custom Builders Wilmington Home

Fall has arrived, and the draft of cooler winter air could be just a couple months from creeping into your home if you're not prepared. No one wants to wear their triple-fat down coat indoors to save money on winter electric bills or receive a bill from Duke Energy Progress that's triple the cost of what it was during the Fall, either. So what can you do now to reduce your energy bill while keeping the chilly draft outdoors? Take a look around your home to see what energy saving updates might just benefit you and your family this season. 

Switch out your thermostat. Did you know that each degree you turn down the heat saves three percent on your energy bill? Just think about all of the savings you could see on your power bill by purchasing a programmable thermostat which automatically adjusts the temperature a few degrees while you're sleeping!

Seal it up. Just how well are the openings to your home sealed? If your home is older, take a look around each window and door in the house. Notice any cracks where the light shines through? Or feel a slight draft? Oftentimes, the gaps that could use a little caulking, repairing or weather stripping aren't super evident until we intentionally look for them. Another place we often find needs winter-proofing is around heating ducts in the attic and basement. Filling in the gaps between you and the outdoors is an easy and inexpensive way to find efficiency in the home and keep any bugs and critters far away.

Insulate. Professional home builders like to say that fiberglass insulation, as compared to foam insulation, is like choosing to wear a sweater versus wearing a windbreaker in the winter. To put it briefly, fiberglass is a way of the past. It serves its purpose, but over time it does need to be added to or replaced, and it doesn't seal as well as the newer foam insulation that adheres to every nook and cranny. Your attic is the obvious place to consider new insulation, but other areas like basements, crawl space, and any exterior walls you're already opening up for renovation are important places to consider too.  

Window shop. If you have older windows in your home and are thinking about replacing them, the easiest way to find energy efficient windows is to look for the star (and by that we mean look for the Energy Star label). The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has made it easy on us. By simply choosing a product with the blue Energy Star emblem, you should feel confident that you’ve selected windows that meet or exceed strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA to save home owners both time and money. According to Energy Star’s standards, on average, you’ll be saving about 12% on your energy bill. Tax credits may be available for your purchase too! So weigh out the overall product and installation cost versus your annual energy savings over time. 

Out with the old. In with the new. When it comes to the appliances that use the most energy in your home, a good rule of thumb is if they are ten years old or older, you'd be better off starting fresh. Take a look back at your furnace, boiler, central air conditioner and/or heat pump records. How long ago were they purchased, serviced, and do they have an energy star rating? If you're not sure if yours is the best bang for your buck, call us.  

Thinking about making energy saving updates to your home? Give us a call at 910.620.1835 or fill out our custom renovation form. We’re here to help you make the right choice for your custom home.