IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Winterizing your home can save you money on your power bill and keep you warm throughout the winter. There are easy steps you can still take, even as the snow is falling, to seal in the heat and save you money.
“You can buy all sorts of weather strip kits, foam tape or something like that to put under your windows and doors,” Brad Simmons, weatherization director for Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership said. “You can buy window coverings that will help quite a bit in the wintertime to keep the cold air from coming in.”
Simmons says a lot of cold air can come underneath and around your doors during the winter, forcing your heater to work harder and costing you more money on your power bill. He says foam tape is very easy to put on and most homeowners can install it themselves with ease. Sticking foam tape around the jam of the door can help prevent the drafty air from getting inside.
Simmons says the amount of savings will depend on the type of heating you use in your home but electric heat users will see greater savings every month than gas users.
“The biggest thing about the weatherstripping is going to be the comfort level for the occupants because if you have drafts in your house, it’s going to make it a little bit uncomfortable in the wintertime,” Simmons said.
Investing in heavier curtains can help keep additional heat inside.
“Those help a bunch in wintertime to keep the cold air from coming in so much around the windows,” Simmons said.
You should also switch your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise. This produces a gentle updraft to force the warm air down. Keeping a fan on low and running it clockwise allows you to turn the heat down a few degrees to help with utility bills.
“Heat rises and it gets caught up in the top of the ceiling so if you reverse your ceiling fan, it’s going to pull some of that heat down,” Simmons said.
When pipes freeze, they can burst and as your waterflow continues, you may experience flooding and serious water damage to your home and valuables.
Heat tape is a simple tool to keep your pipes from freezing. It is affordable and can be purchased from your local hardware store.
You can also buy pipe insulation to wrap around your pipes to keep them from freezing in the wintertime.
Simmons says if you’ve had problems with your pipes freezing in the past, leaving your taps running at a small stream is a good idea.
You should remove debris from your rain gutters to reduce the risk of ice dams or water damage. While you’re on the ladder, you should try to inspect the roof for leaks. You can also hire a professional if you are uncomfortable doing this yourself.
“It’s always a good idea to clean out your rain gutters in the spring or in the fall to get all of the leaves out so they work properly,” Simmons said.
If your home has a sprinkler system, you should hire a professional to winterize the system in the fall to prevent residual water from freezing and breaking inside of the system. Professionals can blow air through the system to remove the excess water to prevent freezing.
“Hoses, you just need to unhook those from your house so the pipes don’t break and then make sure all the water is out of them, roll them up, and hang them up out of the weather if you can for the winter,” Simmons said.
HVAC technicians should check and clean your furnaces in the fall. You should also replace your furnace filter at least twice a year, especially before use. Taking these routine maintenance measures early will help ensure your furnace doesn’t quit during the winter months when you need it most.
EICAP offers weatherization assistance to low income eligible applicants. Qualifying individuals can have an energy auditor come to their home to inspect windows, doors, and insulation in the attic walls and floors. The auditor will also check the heating system and water heater and make note of any repairs that need to be made. EICAP will hire a contractor to make HVAC repairs and their crews will do the rest of the work. The estimated wait time for repairs to begin is 3 to 4 months. EICAP takes applications for this assistance year round. You can call EICAP at (208) 522-5391 for more information and to apply.
You can find more winterization tips here.