With winter and the coldest weather of the year around the corner, Northampton residents still have a chance to prepare for the cold. Here are some common sense tips on winterizing your house and reducing your holiday power bills.
Prepping your home for the winter can be pretty simple. Cold air makes its way into your home through minor cracks and gaps in windows and doorways, so start by sealing any gaps with weather-stripping or caulk.
Next, if your home does not have energy-efficient windows, try tightly covering the frames with clear plastic sheets to tightly seal them.
A few of us have open fires we like to get going in winter, reduce heat loss through the fireplace, if you have one, by keeping the damper closed when it is not in use. When a fire is kindled, close the doors leading into the room and lower the thermostat to 17 or 18 degrees Centigrade. If you never use your fireplace, simply seal the flue.
Insulate your plumbing by wrapping exposed pipes in foam insulation. This is an easy way to protect them, but be sure to insulate pipes in attics, outer walls and other unheated spaces. Protect outside taps by shutting them off.
A dripping tap can cause pipes to freeze and then crack. You should also detach garden hoses and place insulating foam covers over the taps. During a really cold snap, let your indoor taps drip by slightly opening the hot and cold taps. By allowing water to trickle from kitchen and bathroom taps, you protect them from freezing.
If you’ve air conditioning, remember to check the air filters in your heating system periodically and replace them when they are dirty in order to help keep it running at top efficiency. This depends on the type of filter and other factors. In some homes, filters may need to be replaced monthly. In other homes, just twice a year.
Cold weather brings higher energy bills, but saving energy is as easy as just being mindful:
Saving Energy Quick Tips
A good time to check your heating system’s efficiency
The Northants area has a deep and abiding history, but that means some of the houses are really old. This can mean inefficient and faulty heating systems. If you notice uneven heating or the system needs frequent repairs,
The more efficiently your heating system is running, the less energy is wasted and the lower your utility bills. Regular maintenance also lets you manage small problems before they become expensive repairs. Even new systems don’t last forever, and not maintaining them can lead to problems that aren’t covered by warranties.
I can also advise you on whether it’s time to replace an older, outdated boiler, which are nowhere close to being as energy efficient as newer models, according to the Department of Energy. Older systems are between 56 to 70 percent energy efficient, while modern heating systems are as much as 98.5 percent energy efficient. That means you’re burning less money each month, just trying to stay warm.
Keep an eye on your boiler. If it’s ever starts showing signs of stress, it definitely needs a professional inspection to avoid the threat of flooding, which can severely damage homes and lead to very expensive repairs.
A few other holiday thoughts:
Be careful what you throw down your drain or garbage disposal in the aftermath of holiday meals. To avoid clogs, don’t pour grease into your garbage disposal or sink. Remember there are a few things not to ever try feeding to your kitchen disposal, including eggshells, banana peels, corn husks and coffee grounds. Try to avoid the use of chemical cleaners too often to deal with clogs. They can damage your plumbing.
By following these simple tips, you save money and help protect your home from another Winter while enjoying the happiest of holidays.