If environmental responsibility is important to you, one of the best thing you can do is ensure you make eco-friendly decisions about your home. One of the main ways to keep your home eco-friendly is to increase the energy-efficiency wherever you can. There are several things you can do to prepare your home’s systems for energy-efficient operation over the winter. Here are five ways to get your home ready for the cold weather.
1. Switch to Energy-Efficient Lighting
With more hours of darkness, chances are you’ll use your home’s light fixtures more often in the winter. Switching from incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient options such as CFLs or LEDs can drastically reduce the amount of electricity your home uses for lighting. Not only will you be making the eco-friendly choice, but your utility bills will drop as well. CFLs and LEDs both last dramatically longer than incandescent bulbs so you want to replace them as frequently which is another benefit.
2. Seal Gaps in The Exterior
One of the main areas of inefficiency in most homes is the lack of air-tight seals around doors and windows. These small cracks or gaps in the exterior allow air to move freely between the inside and outside. Consequently, your furnace has to run more often to keep the interior of your home at a comfortable temperature. Use weather stripping and caulking to create strong seals and reduce the amount of time your furnace runs.
3. Have Your Chimney Inspected
If you have a wood-burning fireplace that you use in the winter, it’s extremely important to have your chimney inspected and swept every year in the fall. Not only will this reduce the risk of fire and other chimney problems, but it will help your chimney draw better and your fireplace work more efficiently.
4. Program Your Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is a must for any eco-friendly home. One of the largest energy wasters in a home is running the furnace unnecessarily. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature of your home for different times of the day. This means your furnace won’t’ have to run as much at night or when no one is home, and you can count on your home being a comfortable temperature when you get home from work every day.
5. Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up
The last thing you want to do is have to call for emergency furnace repair in the dead of winter. While nothing can absolutely eliminate that risk, scheduling a furnace tune-up in the fall is a smart preventative measure. A qualified technician will inspect your furnace and ductwork for issues, make any necessary repairs and ensure all your settings are optimized for energy-efficient operation.
A furnace tune-up can save a significant amount of money and hassle in the future. There are many things you can do to prepare your home for winter in an eco-friendly way. Changing out the bulbs in your light fixtures to CFLs or LEDs will save a significant amount of electricity and lower your utility bills. You should also take the time to have your chimney inspected and schedule a tune-up service for your furnace. Fill the small gaps in your home’s exterior and install a programmable thermostat. These steps will ensure your home functions efficiently all winter long.