By David Widner
The Defiance area doesn’t typically experience the severity of winter cold that you’ll find in a city like Chicago. But the season’s chilly temperatures here can still cause a major spike in your home’s electric or natural gas bills if you haven’t taken steps to prevent heat loss from your home and increase its energy efficiency.
The Daily Green, a consumer's guide to green living, suggests following these tips to ensure a cozier, less-costly winter:
• Doors: Put a rolled-up towel (or, if you prefer, a purchased “draft snake”) at the bottom of your exterior doors at night to keep cold air from seeping through the creases between the doors and floor.
• Furnace filters: Now that your heating system is running frequently, make sure you replace or clean your furnace filters monthly to allow for optimum airflow and efficient operation.
• Storm doors: See energy-efficiency gains of more than 40 percent by putting storm doors in place on exterior-facing doors.
• Window sealing: By installing plastic window insulation, you’ll keep cold air from unnecessarily infiltrating the creases around your window frames.
• Caulking and weatherstripping: Check for seepage of outside air anywhere you have exterior-facing surfaces, and apply caulk or adhesive weatherstripping foam wherever necessary.
• Insulation: Check that your attic and crawlspace have adequate insulation to keep your home’s interior heat from dissipating to the outside. You can get reimbursed by the federal government for a portion of the cost of installing high-efficiency insulation.
• Water pipes: Make sure the pipes in your basement or crawlspace and other areas exposed to cold are insulated with pipe foam. You’ll not only save on your electric bills, but you’ll also help prevent those pipes from freezing and bursting when temperatures plummet.
• Clothing: It’s a lot easier to go with a lower thermostat setting – and, as a result, reduce your heating bills – if you’re wearing warm clothing inside your house. Sweaters aren’t just for the outdoors; they can make an energy-saving fashion statement inside your home as well.