Hey Michiganders, is the cold outside starting to creep inside?
The Michigan winter is here bringing freezing temperatures with it, but high energy bills don’t have to be part of the package.
December, January and February are infamous for some of the highest heating bills during the winter season, causing some serious strain on your wallet. In many cases, those high bills are caused by air leakage in your home. But fear not, there are some tips that can help drive those bills back to the depths where they belong saving you money in the long run.
RetroFoam of Michigan has been helping Michiganders solve their heating and energy bill problems for 15 years insulating more than 10,000 homes with foam insulation. We have compiled this list of winter energy tips to help you save money and enjoy the comfort of your home during these cold months.
Set Your Thermostat Wisely
When the temperature outside dips to below freezing, your first instinct is probably to crank-up the heat. But did you know just a few degrees’ adjustment has an estimated 1 to 2 percent impact on your annual heating cost?
When you are at home and awake, Energy.gov suggests you set your thermostat as low as is comfortable for you. When you are asleep or not at home, you can turn your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours, which can save you about 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills.
Using a programmable thermostat can make it easier to set the temperature in your home for different times.
Cover Those Windows
Cold air coming through your windows can make your home a much less comfortable place to be. Instead of adjusting the heat in your home, covering those drafty windows can save you money on your energy bill.
Windows account for about 25 percent of heat loss in homes, according to Popular Mechanics.
The fix is fairly inexpensive at around $6 for a 62 inch by 84 inch roll of plastic film. You can use the heavy-duty clear plastic sheet on the window frame or tape it to the inside of the window during the cold winter months. The key is to make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help cut down on the cold draft infiltration.
You can also install tight fitting insulating drapes or shades on windows that still feel drafty after they have been winterized.
Stop Air Leaks in Your Duct Work
The typical house with forced-air heating loses about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the system to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts according to Energy Star.
This leakage can be fixed by placing a mastic sealant or metal tape over any leaks to seal them, keeping the heat moving to the areas of your home where you want it.
Eliminate Drafts from Electrical Outlets, Holes, and Doors
Those sneaky cold drafts can find their way into your home through every nook and cranny made available. There are several ways to eliminate the point of entry for the cold air sneaking its way in.
- Eliminate drafts around electrical boxes. Electrical boxes in your exterior walls are known for allowing cold drafts to sneak their way in. This is because insulation isn’t always placed behind and around them correctly. You can use a foam sealant to fill in these gaps.
- Plug holes in exterior walls. Pipes, gas lines, and electrical cables that come into your home often have gaps around them that have been carelessly filled with some manner of caulk, which eventually cracks and falls away. These gaps can be filled using an expanding foam, creating an air seal.
- Reduce and eliminate drafts from doors and windows. Replacing worn weatherstripping around doors and windows can seal the perimeter reducing air leaks. Adjusting your door thresholds can also keep you from losing heat through the gap under your door.
Out With the Cold, In With the Heat
If your home has old insulation or no insulation, the heat you’re paying for can escape right through your roof while cold air seeps in through your walls and floors. Re-insulating your entire home with foam insulation can make your home warmer and more comfortable while saving you money on energy bills.
We suggest foam insulation for your entire home as each section – attic, walls, crawl space, and rim joist – all work together as a system to make your home comfortable. Only insulating the walls will not help with cold floors, just like insulating your attic won’t help with cold walls.
While we do suggest insulating your entire home, there are instances where only insulating certain areas is required.
Now that you’ve learned these steps to reducing your monthly energy bills it’s time to take action. While each of these steps will save you money individually, implementing all of them could lead to some major savings.