By Randy Stark - Hughes Real Estate Group
With winter right around the corner it's time to prepare for some cold nights. Whether you're an Atlanta native or new to area, it's time to bundle up and prepare for the long winter months. Atlanta temperatures in January average about 40 degrees and residents can expect freezing temperatures 40 nights a year (weather.com). Each year people all over the city contemplate the best ways to keep their homes warm without breaking the bank. Utility costs can rise considerably during the winter months, but these additional costs can be kept at bay with a few minor improvements to your home. The following list of tips can help with home heating efficiency and assist you in staying warm and comfortable this winter.
Both old houses and new may have air leaks that are resulting in the home being less energy efficient. Drafty windows, doors and attics will let air sneak out along with the heat. In order to keep heat inside it is important to locate this leaks and seal them. Start by checking the weather stripping along your doors and windows. If this is stripping is worn it will need to be replaced. Next, check for cuts made into the drywall to install lighting fixtures or ceiling fans. These gaps around the fixtures can let air seep into an unfinished attic and they will need to filled with a silicone or latex caulk. Simply sealing air leaks in your home can increase your energy savings by 30% (green.arkansas.gov)
Insulation is the most important factor to keeping your home cool in the summer and warm during the winter. Be sure to have a proper amount of insulation inside your walls and in the attic. Insulation is rated by the R-value which is a measure of the amount of heat allowed to pass through it. The higher the R-value of your homes insulation the more you'll save on your bills. Contractors typically build homes with an R-value that meets the standard building code. Due to the fact the heat rises, if you increase the amount of insulation in your attic, it can make a big difference with your utility bills.
Although it may be tempting to keep your thermostat at 75 during the winter, it will be a guarantee to keep your energy costs high. Try to keep your thermostat at 68 degrees during the winter, the lower the temperature setting the more money you will save. If this seems chilly to you don't resort to using space heaters.They are expensive to use regardless of the type and above that they can be hazardous. Because of the high concentration of heat they put out they have been known to start fires on many occasions. Instead try wearing long sleeve shirts and socks in the house.
It may not be completely clear what changes need to be made to lower heating costs, but there are many different professionals that are available to help. Your local electric company, or home energy audit contractor, can come and assess your needs and patterns of energy use and point out areas for improvement. They can inspect your home's structure, insulation levels and review your appliances and deliver a customized audit report along with an annual savings estimate. Often times these audits will come with a rebate incentive that will help reduce the cost of the bill.
You may be surprised about how big of a difference these minor improvements to your home will make. All these improvements implemented over your entire house will save a considerable amount of heat during the chilly winter months. What will you do with the money you save?
Randy Stark | Hughes Real Estate Group | startpackingidaho.com