Winter weather is on the way, and poor heating should be the last of your worries. With more time at home this year, guarantee a comfortable indoor temperature with these preventative measures and maintenance tips.
Replacing an old heat pump with a new Energy Star model can lower electric bills and increase household energy efficiency.
Have your residence evaluated for energy efficiency by a certified building analyst and make any efficiency upgrades to your house before buying your new heat pump. New windows, air sealing, and additional insulation will all reduce the heating and cooling needs of your house. If you insulate and air seal after installing a new heat pump, the pump may end up oversized. A correctly sized heat pump is important for comfort and maximizing the efficiency of your home.
Check and replace worn weatherstripping around your windows. Weatherstripping comes in different materials (e.g., foam, felt, vinyl, metal, etc.) and durability varies between them. Consider how effective each material is at blocking drafts and how it looks on the window if it is visible. Be sure to follow instructions and clean and prepare the surface before applying.
Another helpful option is a window insulation kit. These kits utilize a plastic sheet that is taped to the inside of the window frame and then heated with a hair dryer to shrink the plastic to a tight fit. The plastic sheet seals the entire window and helps to stop cold air drafts from sneaking into your home. This type of treatment is best used for windows that you plan to keep closed throughout the winter.
As cozy as they are, fireplaces typically remove more heat from a house than they contribute, sending up to eight percent of heat pump or furnace-warmed air up and out of the chimney.
Getting into the habit of remembering to close your damper whenever your fireplace is not in use is the first and easiest step to improving your energy efficiency. After years of exposure to heat, ashes, and moisture, many fireplace dampers will become stuck or warped. If you can visually see a gap, or feel a draft even when the damper is closed, your damper is not sealing properly. A professional chimney cleaning and repair service can clean, oil, and if needed, replace your damper.
If you are not ready to replace your damper, a chimney balloon is a less expensive option. It is an inflatable plastic balloon that seals your chimney like a throat damper. It can be used in almost any fireplace and is inflated and deflated by mouth or with a low pressure pump. As with dampers, the key is remembering to insert the balloon when not using your fireplace.
For bigger energy efficiency improvements, reaching out to your local providers can pay off in the long run. Not sure where to start? A professional home energy assessment is a smart first step to keep things cozy at home!