One of the most important things in the winter season is mastering the art of preserving the heat inside your home, without turning up the thermostat sky-high.
You can look at this matter from two points of view: first, if you manage to keep the heat inside the house, you will save a lot of money on your energy bill. Second, in an emergency scenario, if disaster strikes and power outages become frequent, it would be a great idea to maximize your resource efficiency and keep your house warmer for extended periods of time.
In order to achieve these goals, learn a few simple tips and tricks about keeping your house cozy and warm in the cold season. It’s a win-win situation.
Generally speaking, most people are not aware of the basic fact that there are lots of ways their home is leaking air. Unfortunately, along with the air, the heat goes away too. It’s a no-brainer that plugging the leaks is the most realistic way to reduce your utility bills for the entire year, because the same principle applies in the summer if you’re using an air conditioner.
Also, during a cold winter (like this one), keeping your home warm at all times can be crucial in a survival situation.
Let’s take a look at some of the key areas in your home that might need improving.
Thinsulating Weak Areas
The main areas that let heat escape from your home are the exterior walls, the basement ceiling and the attic floor. In order to minimize the heat loss, you should add insulation to those key areas.
The basement ceiling should be insulated with roll-in fiberglass; thus the cold air will no longer invade your house through the floor. You can prevent the warm air from escaping through the exterior walls by adding blown-in insulation.
If your house has an attic, it is probable that you have ventilation ducts up in there and they are most likely leaking air. This leads to condensation. In order to prevent this phenomenon, you should insulate these ventilation ducts with fiberglass.
Insulating the attic floor is the same story as the basement ceiling; you can use the same roll-in fiberglass in order to prevent the heat from dissipating through there.
Almost all residences have electric switches and outlet boxes hanging on the outside walls and, especially in older homes, many of these have gaps that will allow the heat from inside your home to escape. All you have to do is to fill in the holes where the wires enter the box with an insulating material, i.e. silicon or foam.
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Sealing the windows and doors
Another obvious thing is to check your windows for drafts. This is actually one of the main causes of your house losing heat in the winter and lots of people are not paying attention to this matter.
Along with the windows, doors may be the culprits in letting the heat out. All you have to do is to stop heat (and cooling) loss from around windows and doors is attach weather stripping insulation around the perimeter of them and you’ll be fine. Weather stripping comes in various widths in order to properly fit your windows and doors and it is very easy to install all by yourself.
You can also caulk your windows with silicone; pay extra attention to those visible holes or cracks that let the heat out. Silicon is highly recommended because it lasts for a long time and it is flexible even in extreme temperatures and it will not crack or shrink as it ages.
Install double-pane windows, as the air trapped between the two panes of glass will act like an insulator; the double-pane windows are way more efficient than regular windows and even if they are more expensive, they are worth it in the long run (you will save lots of money on your heating bill).
- Keep your shades pulled down during the night and during sunless days. This will help insulate your house especially if you have shades made of thick fabric (much better than synthetic/thin fiber).
- You must keep the damper in your fireplace closed when you’re not using it because an open fireplace will let the heat escape from the house like there’s no tomorrow. Also, if the fireplace features a glass door in front of it, you should keep it closed if you’re not using it for the same reason.
- Keep your heating ducts clean and inspect them on regular basis because a blocked duct will seriously affect the efficiency of your heating system and can even cause a fire.
- You should keep your water heater wrapped in order to reduce the amount of heat lost; you can achieve this by acquiring an inexpensive blanket, specially designed for your particular water heater. You can find one in your local hardware store or you can buy it online.
- If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you should buy one as soon as possible. A programmable thermostat can be used to keep the temperature low inside your home when you are at work or when you’re sleeping, hence significantly reducing your costs. Also, you can heat various areas of your home, i.e. the ones you spend the most time in will be heated more than the others.
- Since exposed pipes can easily freeze in the winter, you must wrap them with special foam, tape, or with pipe wrap insulation.
Before turning up the heat, just spend a few minutes and review these tips and tricks, as they will help you reduce your utility bills during the cold season and will also make your home the perfect shelter from the storm in a real life survival scenario.
by Chris Black for Survivopedia