On these long cold days after the holidays, we tend to find ourselves less entranced by the snow and blustery weather here in Northern Colorado. Thankfully here, we can still count on many nice days, but the furnace running and our cold feet remind us that perhaps there is more we can do about the environment in our homes. That is why we have compiled a short list of 7 action items that we as homeowners can take to improve our home comfort right now.
1. An Easy Fix With Insulation
Adding insulation is an obvious first step, especially in older homes that tend to be poorly insulated. In some homes the insulation could have settled to a point where it is no longer performing. Although adding insulation to your walls is a project best left to be assessed and performed by a professional, adding attic insulation can be easily done by a proactive homeowner. Purchasing rolled insulation and simply laying it throughout your attic, or even renting an insulation machine and blowing in additional insulation is a great option!
2. Go High-Tech With Your Thermostat
Another great action to take is swapping out your thermostat for a programmable one. Many homeowners heat their homes to a comfortable level even if they are not at home or are sleeping, and this can make a big difference in your heating costs. For the tech savvy there are even thermostats that you can connect to through your smartphone, adjusting your home for optimal comfort and efficiency from anywhere!
3. Old-Fashioned Solar Power
A very simple but often forgotten way to help your comfort and heating costs is to open blinds to let in warming sunshine! This passive solar heating can make a big difference if you have a lot of south facing windows. The best part is that it costs nothing, and we could all benefit from the extra vitamin D!
4. How Are Your Vents?
As the chilly weather sets in, we set about the task of adjusting vents to get optimal heating in every room. But now after the holidays is a good time to go through your home, opening all vents wide open and checking to be sure they are not blocked by anything. Once your vents are all unblocked and opened up, you can again adjust them if one room is too hot or cold.
5. Address The Drafts
Cold air creeps into our homes through cracks in our windows and doors. Drafts can also come from poorly insulated walls, crawlspaces, attics etc. But windows and doors are often, especially on older homes, the worst offenders for heat loss. While new windows and doors can often make the single largest difference in your heating bill and comfort, they can also be the most expensive! So here are a couple of steps to help you cut the drafts right now.
- Install plastic window insulation. This acts as an extra layer of protection from drafts. Just be sure to clean your windows before you install the plastic (see through) barrier!
- Doors can also be helped by installing new weather stripping on the door frame. If a large gap exists at the bottom, there are also many options for blocking drafts, from a rolled up towel in a pinch, to attractive draft blockers.
6. How About Some Chicken Noodle Soup?
Putting on a pot of soup is a wonderful, cost effective way to keep comfortable this winter! Winter is soup season and a pot simmering on the stove may not heat your home, but the soup will be a welcome winter treat! Also baking rolls and cookies will add heat and warmth to your home.
7. Now For Some Extra Money Back In Your Pocket….
Finally once you have made improvements check with your tax preparer for tax deductions if you have replaced windows and doors, added insulation or upgraded to high efficiency appliances.