Remember what you learned in physics class about thermal equilibrium? Thermodynamic systems tend toward entropy, and in the case of temperature, this means that heat dissipates as it encounters colder areas. To conserve the heat inside your home, lower your utility bills, and maintain family comfort and harmony, you will need to battle the natural forces of the universe. Fortunately, this is not quite as difficult as it sounds.
This is the most obvious way that houses lose heat, and it’s a fairly easy fix. If your attic or crawlspace has insulation that has been there for several years, it may be time for an upgrade. Materials tend to settle, and recent technological innovations have made insulation safer, easier to work with, and much more efficient. New insulation may also qualify for a rebate from your utility company.
2. Windows and window coverings
Double-paned windows make a big difference in your heating and cooling costs—more than enough to offset the purchase and installation price. But don’t stop with energy-efficient windows. You can regulate the temperature in your home in winter by opening and closing your blinds or draperies to take advantage of the sunlight and keep the cold out. Reverse the process during hot weather, and you may be able to save your air conditioning system for extreme temperatures.
Drafts allow heat to escape, and they also let insects in! Add threshold strips to your doors and make sure all windows are properly sealed. Products are easy to install and can be purchased at your local home store. If it’s a cold night and you haven’t made it to the store yet, a simple rolled towel against the bottom of the door will help out until you purchase a permanent solution.
4. Floor coverings
Rugs really do help to trap heat in a room. You don’t need wall-to-wall expanses of carpeting; a few simple area rugs can work just as well. They create an additional layer of insulation to keep heat close to the floor, where you want it.
5. Central heating
The trouble with central heating is that it can heat the whole house, which is great if you’re using the whole house all the time, but in most cases that heat is going into empty rooms. Get in the habit of closing vents that flow into little-used rooms, or better yet, turn the thermostat down and use a pellet stove or fireplace in the living room and space heaters in bedrooms and bathrooms. You can buy heaters equipped with thermostats or timers so that they shut off automatically. Additionally, if your system is older if may be time to upgrade to a more energy efficient furnace. Certain models even qualify for a $500 Federal Tax Credit.
Fight the forces of entropy and protect your home’s heat this winter with a few basic insulating steps. Your utility bills will decrease while the comfort of your household and the value of your home increase for a bonus of both comfort and savings.