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For Homeowners

Winter Is Coming: 5 Strategies for Low Winter Energy Bills

Let the Sun in South-facing Windows

The sun is low in the sky in the winter which allows it to stream in through your windows. In the northern hemisphere, south-facing windows and to a lesser extent east and west-facing windows can gradually heat your home with free solar energy.

There is a lot you can do to take greater advantage of passive solar energy by letting the sun stream in your southern windows.

1. Open South-facing Window Treatments
While window treatments on north windows or at night can help keep the cold air out, the same isn’t true on south windows during the day. Keep your blinds or curtains open during sunny days on south-facing windows to bring in the warmth of the sun.

This is especially true if you have energy-efficient windows. When the sun sets, however, keep your curtains closed.

2. Remove Screens on South-facing Windows
Screens are great for keeping bugs out, but they also keep the sun’s rays from warming your home. When the heating season starts, clean your windows and remove your screens in east and south-facing windows. This simple action can increase your solar gain by 30 to 40 percent!

3. Keep Cold Air Out
Is your home drafty in the winter? This is a sign that cold air is infiltrating into your home in the winter. It’s essential to keep cold air out and warm air in to keep your energy bills down.

Although larger projects, such as insulating and air sealing the attic can have a huge impact on home performance, smaller DIY projects can also be well worth the effort.

4. Use Insulated Window Treatments
Windows serve as a significant path for winter heat loss, especially during the night. Install insulated curtains, blinds, shutters, or shades to keep the winter weather out.

Be sure to measure the windows well to ensure that the treatments fit properly. If you have curtains, use magnets or Velcro to stop the gap between the curtains and the wall.

5. Caulk Around Windows
Gaps around windows and doors can hinder their effectiveness at keeping cold air out. Plugging air leaks is a great way to boost home performance. Caulk all cracks that are under a quarter inch in width and add weatherstripping for larger gaps.

Use storm windows during the heating season to make your windows more effective.

6. Minimize Use of Exhaust Fans
Although bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are a great way to expel odors, moisture, smoke, and fumes, they also degrade home energy performance. Unfortunately, exhaust fans vent heated air out of your home in the winter along with unwanted fumes.

When a given quantity of air exhausts from your home, an equal amount of makeup air must enter. This means that the exhaust fan helps draw outside air into the house through gaps and cracks while it is operating. Exhaust fans certainly have their benefits but turn them off as soon as they’ve gotten the job done.

If you need help or advice to make sure that your home is ready for winter, please don’t hesitate to contact us.