Keeping Heating Costs in Check This Winter

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There are all kinds of records being set this month: in addition to those at the Winter Olympics.  For one, there have been the frigid temperatures.  With the drop in temperature, there have been record increases in propane prices, leading some to refer to it as “liquid gold”.  Some of the homeowners hit hardest by the propane pricing are those with older homes, since energy efficiency wasn’t a priority at time of construction.  Making changes to an older home to increase energy efficiency can seem like a daunting task, but with these tips, you’ve got a clear road map of ways to improve the current situation.

Get an Energy Audit: There’s a saying that states “prognosis without diagnosis is malpractice”.  In addition to the medical community, this can also apply to home energy efficiency.  Don’t throw a bunch of stuff at a wall, hoping something sticks.   Get an energy audit by a licensed professional so that you can pinpoint the biggest offenders in your home when it comes to wasted energy.  Many times, a basic audit is offered by a utility company for a nominal fee.

Install a Programmable Thermostat:  Did you know that by turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours while you are away at work or sleeping you can save as much as 5%-15% a year on your heating bill?  A lot of people avoid doing this because they are under the impression that this practice causes your furnace to work harder.  In fact, you will lose less energy because the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss resulting in more energy being saved.

Upgrade Your Insulation: ENERGY STAR estimates that just by properly sealing and insulating your home, you can save up to 20% off your heating and cooling costs.  In order to reap home energy savings, you need to have the proper R-value for the climate you live in.  The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power you will have.  To have optimal energy efficiency in your home, you need to be properly insulated from your foundation all the way up to your roof.

Install Energy Efficient Windows:  Signs your windows and doors are starting to fail is if you are able to see daylight around the window or door frame or you’re able to rattle them.  A temporary fix can be weather stripping.  However, since roughly 90% of a window is glass, your choice of single, double or triple pane can dramatically affect your energy efficiency. Double and triple pane windows trap a layer of still air or gas between the panes which increases insulation. Replacing the windows in your home will help stabilize your home’s climate making air temperature more consistent.

Keep Your Heating Vents Clear: Take care to not block your heating vents with things such as rugs and furniture.  Doing so prevents warm air from circulating as it should.

Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard is a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com. Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus

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