Energy conservation has become a hot topic in media over recent years. The rising costs of electricity coupled with failing local infrastructure have become an issue for both the public and private sectors in every developed country in the world.
We all need to do our part to conserve energy and reduce our energy footprint. Nothing brings this more to focus than a harsh winter season. The wind, the cold, the rain, snow and extreme weather conditions call for higher energy consumption for the populace to stay warm. This extra warmth comes at a cost and doing everything you can to mitigate this expense will help both the environment and your bank account.
There are many different ways to reduce the amount of electricity you consume at home. Often we overlook simple solutions to everyday problems that cost us money. Saving on your gas and electricity bill is easier than you think and all it requires is a minimal investment of your time and money.
Here is a practical five-step plan that you can implement in your own home to reduce your energy consumption and begin changing the way you think about using energy in your daily life. If we all do our part to use less, we can benefit both our standard of living and save our most valuable resource, our planet. Do your part and execute on these simple insulation and heating tips.
1. Keep the Cold Air Out
The first place to start with insulating your home from the chill of the winter air is by inspecting every possible entrance and exit where air might get through. Doors are the primary culprit of air leaks, seal them and stop the air from entering without knocking. Line the doorframe with some adhesive foam strips. These strips will compress into the door when closed and prevent air from entering through the sides.
Seal up the bottom of the door with a double draft stopper that sits at the bottom of the door. These double-draft stoppers are cheap to buy and make a massive difference. Using a storm door on the exterior of your door will also prevent the cold from penetrating the door and filling the room. Use shutters for your windows and stop the elements from entering your home. A well-insulated house can reduce the heating bill by up to 60%, so doing all you can with a few simple fixes will save you in the long run.
2. Invest in an HVAC system
An HVAC system is the best way to keep your home at a consistent, comfortable temperature. An HVAC system is cost-effective and offers and year-round solution to heating and cooling. This appliance is a must for anyone living in cold climates, where winters may last more than six months, and temperatures reach below freezing, where the extreme cold can become life-threatening.
If you choose to go the route of HVAC, then make sure that you work with professionals when wiring your electrical system. Select a company with a solid industry track record for products and service. Rely on established companies such as Trane (US) or Mr. Sparky (AU) to guarantee their products and installation. Installing an HVAC system in your home takes a few hours, and the benefits will last for years to come. Don’t take shortcuts.
3. Insulate the Electrical Outlets
Cold air will enter the room from any possible location. A common oversight people make when insulating their home is neglecting the electrical sockets and points. Insulate these holes with flame retardant fiberglass insulation and use a plug-stop to prevent air from leaking through the electrical fitting.
4. Insulation for the Attic and Basement
Using insulation blankets or foam in the walls and ceilings of your home is the best way to keep the cold out and keep warm air from escaping. Insulation comes in different grades and thicknesses; fiberglass rolls of R-49 that can be applied directly to ceiling joists, or you can use blow-in cellulose insulation. Most local contractors will be able to offer you a quote on insulating your home, and the job completed in a few hours. While the initial cost of the purchase may be expensive, the savings over the lifetime of your home ownership will offset the expense by saving you thousands on your heating bill.
If you have the time and the ability, you can insulate your home yourself. If you choose to go this route, then remember not to insulate the basement ceiling, just do the walls, this keeps the basement from becoming a chiller. You can stop cold air from entering the basement by filling the joists with insulation. Fit it so that the soft side of the insulation is lightly touching the outer wall.
5. Double-glaze Windows
Glass is thin and does not do well in blocking the cold from entering a room. Check that all of your glass panes are fixed in place, and the glazing has not perished. You can do this by gently tapping the pane and looking for any movement in the glass. If the window pane is loose, mark it and fix everything after finishing your initial inspection.
To up your game and keep the cold out, consider investing in some double-glazed windows. These windows insulate your home and allow you to control the temperature of the room with less effort required from other heating appliances such as fires or HVAC systems.