Published on November 8th, 2015 | by Kyle Field28
Energy Savings Tips For The Cooler Months
November 8th, 2015 by Kyle Field
Here at CleanTechnica, we are all about sharing tech that helps reduce humanity’s impact on the planet, and usually do so at a fairly large scale. While that is extremely important, each and every one of us can make an impact by changing a few small things in our own lives each day to reduce our own impact.
Conveniently, the good folks over at energy.gov recently posted some tips on things we can all do to save energy (in all its fun forms) as we start cooling down this fall and winter… at least, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. While cooler months are the focus, many of these tips will help in all seasons, in other words — don’t worry, Australia, there are some good bits in here for you guys as well. 🙂
Below are a few of my favorite all-season tips from their list:
Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun
We do this at home by closing the blinds on hot days and opening them on cooler days. During the winter, this is especially helpful, as it allows the sun to warm up the inside of the house while it’s out, warming up the house before night falls.
Trimming back trees. In the summer, we let the tree that’s on the south side of our house grow larger to block more of the sun, and vice versa in the winter. Cutting back trees that are blocking the sun will similarly allow the sun to warm your home as much as possible.
Find and Seal Leaks
This is another multi-season life hack, as leaky houses won’t hold in warm or cool air. Start with the obvious places like windows and doors and add weatherstripping as needed. For interior doors, there are baffles that can be added to the lower portion of the door to optimize airflow between rooms.
Taking this up to Level 2, head to your garage and look for penetrations into your house. Garages are typically well ventilated to the outside, as they often house water heaters and home heaters. Look for any penetrations into your house that don’t look like they were a part of the original construction and check to confirm they are well sealed. You can add spray foam insulation to quickly seal up small gaps but you may want to seek professional help for anything bigger, depending on your personal skill set.
For pro sealers, head outside to scan the outside walls of your house, identifying and sealing penetrations that might be allowing outside air to flow in and out of your house. Windows and doors are often culprits here, and a bit of caulk can seal up gaps in no time. No point in wasting the energy spent heating and cooling inside your home if at all possible.
Want to take it to the next level? The US Department of Energy has a more exhaustive guide on its website.
Maintain Your Heating (and Cooling) Systems
Heating and cooling systems are often forgotten about until it’s time to use them. When that first chilly day blows through, we remember that the heater had that funny smell to it or that the fan on the air conditioner was squealing. Test our your home units before rough weather rolls in to ensure you’re prepared.
At a minimum, you should be changing out your filters on home heater and furnaces every month they are in use. Pulling air through a dirty filter can be like sucking cement through a straw, so help your equipment out and drop a fresh filter in. This is usually something you can do yourself, or you can ask your local service team to help.
Follow the manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule. Most equipment comes with a maintenance schedule and if you want your heating and cooling equipment to keep working for you, you’ll be well served to put in a little elbow grease to keep it healthy.
The more you know, the less you need.
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