The strong winds and cold temperatures that accompany winter’s arrival can make staying warm a challenge, even inside our homes. Instead of just turning up the heat or counting on the fireplace this year, consider implementing a thorough winterization plan for energy efficiency. 

A few simple steps can significantly increase your home’s energy efficiency, allowing you to stay warm without the added cost of a rising utility bill. This eco-friendly approach has the added appeal of maximizing the benefits to the environment as well. The tips below can help you stay warm while cutting your costs and your consumption.

Plant Trees – In addition to adding all-important carbon dioxide to the air, planting trees around your home can shield it from cold winds during the winter and provide cooling shade during the summer.

Add or Upgrade Insulation – If you own an older home, it may be time to investigate the adequacy of its insulation. Energy Star offers minimum insulation guidelines depending on the climate in your area. If more attic or wall insulation is warranted, consider a green alternative with above-average efficiency or one manufactured from recycled products, such as newspapers or denim.

Lower Your Water Heater Temperature – Is your water heater working too hard? For most people, 120 degrees is all the heat they need; however, water heaters are typically set to 140 degrees or higher. Lowering the setting on your water heater is an easy way to bring your electricity or natural gas usage down a notch.

Reverse your ceiling fans – The ceiling fans in your home are likely to have a switch that you may not have paid much attention to before. Using this switch to reverse the fans to run in a clockwise direction during the winter can help draw warm up and circulate it throughout your house. 

Install a Smart Thermostat – More affordable than ever, programmable thermostats can take the guesswork out of using your HVAC system efficiently. They can help you avoid heating an empty house and minimize usage when you are home. 

Re-seal Windows and Doors – Of course, a fundamental aspect of winterization is making sure the cold air stays out, and the warm air stays in. Inspect the weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors and repair any drafty gaps early in the season.

However, if your plan for keeping out of the cold includes a new home or a move to warmer temperatures, Open Mortgage is standing by to discuss your options. Call us today or visit OpenMortgage.com for more information.

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