12 Energy Efficiency Tips to Get your Home Ready for Winter


Winter is upon us, bringing chilly mornings and frosty nights. With the frigid temperatures come higher heating and energy bills. However, you can save money in winter despite the cold by following these top energy-saving tips:

1. Perform an Energy Assessment

To save energy, you first need to know how much energy you use, what uses it, and discover if anything in your home isn't as energy efficient as it should be. You can figure this out yourself, or book a professional energy assessment to guarantee more accurate data. A professional home energy assessment is the best way to know the problem areas for winter energy efficiency in your home. However, you can do a simple assessment to locate issues. When you do your assessment, make a list of drafty areas. For major problems, it's wise to consult a professional.

2. Seal Outside Heat Loss Sources

The exterior of your house will always be the major source of heat loss. When examining outside, search for areas where two different building materials meet, such as: Caulking and weather stripping Chimney and siding junctures Corners of the house Gaps around pipes and wires, seals on the home foundation, and mail slots. Water faucets Where the foundation and the bottom of the exterior brick or siding joins Old caulking will need to be reapplied in order to be effective once again. Pipes can be insulated with pipe insulation wrap, while gaps between junctures can be closed using exterior insulation foam or tape. Use the tape along longer, straight gaps, and the foam in harder-to-reach areas such as corners.

3. Check Insulation Levels

Good insulation is important if you want to keep warm in winter. Even if you do nothing else, just adding adequate insulation will significantly improve your home's energy efficiency. However, the important thing to understand with insulation is that it only works if you approach insulating your home in a thorough and consistent way. For example, if you insulate just the attic, but your home is still leaking heat from poorly insulated wall cavities, you will not save much energy overall. As a bare minimum, insulating your home will involve assessing your roof and/or attic, the walls, the ceilings, the floor, and the windows. Consulting an insulation professional may be the best way to assess how much insulation your home needs and whether it's cost-effective for you.

4. Maintain Your Heating Systems

Whether you have central heating, a wood-burning stove, a fireplace, or a combination of these different heating systems, you need to properly maintain them to make sure they're running as well as possible. Here's what you should be doing to keep these different types of home heating systems running smoothly.

HVAC Maintenance

Maintaining your HVAC or other heating unit saves money on energy costs. The easiest way to maintain your HVAC system is to change the filters. You should replace disposable air filters every 60 to 90 days. Change these more often if you have pets, such as cats or dogs. If the filters are washable, clean them on the same schedule. Outside, remove dirt, debris, and leaves from the unit. Have your HVAC inspected by an HVAC professional two times a year in spring, late summer, or fall.

Wood and Pellet-Burning Heaters

There are several important ways of making a wood-burning stove more energy-efficient. If you are thinking of getting one, make sure it has a chimney that's at least two feet taller than your roof for optimal fuel burning. You'll also need to clean the chimney regularly as soot can prevent the wood burner from burning well. Wood-burning stoves should also be carefully positioned in your home for the best results. The center of your home is by far the best place for a stove as you'll get the best possible heat distribution. You should avoid using wood-burning heaters in small rooms as the high fuel consumption won't be worth the heat output for a small space. Finally, make sure you use the right fuel. The wood you use in a wood burner should have no more than 15-20% moisture content, or you'll end up with a wood stove that produces a lot of smoke and doesn't put out much heat.


Heat escapes from fireplaces primarily through fireplace dampers, so keep yours closed when your fireplace is not in use. Leaving the damper open allows warm air to travel right up the chimney, making the room much colder. When using a fireplace flue damper, make sure it fits tight. If it's loose, get a new one. It's also worth investing in fireplace accessories that make your fireplace more efficient when it's burning. Tempered glass fireplace doors are worth the investment because they help intensify the heat your fireplace generates. Fireplace grates made from C-shaped metal tubes will help bring cool room air into the fireplace and move warm air back into the room. Finally, If you're not using your fireplace regularly, it's best to plug and seal the chimney flue.

5. Choose Space Heaters Wisely

Space heaters can be an energy-efficient option for heating your home, but be sure to choose wisely. Electric heaters typically are not energy-efficient and cost a lot to run. Try to avoid using oil-filled and fan heaters. Instead, consider investing in an infrared space heater. Infrared heaters consume dramatically less energy than fan heaters and work instantly by heating objects rather than air.

6. Lower The Thermostat

Lowering your thermostat even by one degree can make a huge difference to your energy. The difference to how you feel at home will likely be minimal, so it's worth experimenting with different temperature settings. It's also worth investing in a smart thermostat that can be controlled from your mobile phone. The ability to remote-control your thermostat is especially useful if you're away in case you forget to turn your heating off.

7. Invest in Good-Quality Curtains

If window insulation isn't an option right now, then getting some heavy, insulating curtains is a very good idea. If you don't like curtains, some blinds also have thermal insulation properties, so read the product descriptions before you buy. Keep curtains and blinds closed at night and on windy days.

8. Layer Up

This doesn't mean you have to work in a room that's absolutely freezing or sleep in a bedroom that's uncomfortably cold. But you may be surprised by how warm a thick sweater or wool blanket can keep you. Bonus tip: moving around and going outside for a walk will make you feel warmer, so combine that with wearing weather-appropriate clothing.

9. Unplug Appliances

It may not seem important, but appliances leech power from wall sockets even when not in use. Unplug any you aren't using and switch off the socket if it has a switch. The same goes for your computer or laptop: if you're not using it, disconnect it from the power supply fully.

What NOT to Do

When you think of heating your home, you might be tempted to take shortcuts or try ideas that seem reasonable, but they are dangerous.

10. Don't Use the Oven for Heat

Don’t use your oven for heating. Some thrift sites recommend using an open oven for heat, but an open oven for heating is dangerous. If you use a gas oven, you risk carbon monoxide poisoning from the open oven. An electric oven can overheat, malfunction, and start a fire.

11. Avoid Candles

Never use candles or other open flames to heat or dry. An open flame can easily spark, tip over, and cause a fire. Candles and open flames are dangerous around children who might burn themselves.

12. Avoid Charcoal Grills

Never burn charcoal grills inside because of the carbon monoxide danger. You should never use charcoal grills indoors, even with ventilation because grills are a fire hazard.

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