For the past two weeks, we have addressed keeping your house airtight and plumbing safe this winter. To finish up this series, we will add a few quick tips to ensure you are snug in the upcoming months.

  • If your furnace is more than 10 years old, there’s a good chance that it wastes a lot of fuel. Consider upgrading to a newer one.
  • Replace your furnace filter about every 3 months.
  • Make sure your cold air returns aren’t blocked.  Your furnace needs these to operate efficiently.
  • Install a programmable Energy Star thermostat that will lower the temperature at night and when no one is at home.
  • Uncover all south-facing windows to let all possible sunlight in your home.
  • Keep all vents and baseboard heaters clean.
  • If you have a fireplace, close the damper when the fireplace is not in use.
  • If the damper is old or doesn’t close well, try putting some insulation in it to seal it off. Just remember to take it out before using it!
  • If you like using a fireplace, consider getting an insert that will direct the heat into your house instead of just sending it up the chimney.
  • Consider replacing all of your lightbulbs with energy-saving CFL bulbs.
  • Install a timer on your water heater so it isn’t heating a whole tank of water when you don’t need it.Plant evergreen trees close to your home to block the winter wind.
  • Reverse the direction of ceiling fans to push hot air downward and delay it from escaping the house.
  • Consider hanging thermal curtains to help prevent drafts.
  • Try to use the clothes dryer for consecutive loads of laundry. This conserves the energy that would be needed to heat up the dryer several times.
  • Install a dryer vent seal to prevent cold air from traveling back into your home.
  • There are attachments to vent your dryer inside your home so you don’t waste the heat and humidity. (Don’t try this if you have a gas-powered dryer).
  • Try not to use space heaters to heat large areas of your house.
  • If you spend most of your time in one room in a large house, consider setting your thermostat low and using a small heater to heat where you are going to be.
  • Keep all closet doors closed when possible. There’s no need to heat space that isn’t in use as long as it doesn’t contain water pipes.
  • Replace the caulking around any bathtubs or showers.

  • If your water heater needs to be upgraded, consider installing a tankless water heater.
  • Use the oven for baking during colder hours of the day to help heat your home.
  • Use an energy monitor to tell you what appliances are using the most energy. This might help pinpoint areas where you can cut back on energy usage.
  • Wear socks and slippers.  If your feet are warm, you will feel warmer and can keep the thermostat set low.

Ron and Martha Wolford are the leaders in luxury home construction in Louisville, Kentucky.

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