Chimney plugs and combination tankless water heaters are just some of your options for keeping your home warm this winter
If you live in the northern half of the country, it’s time again to start thinking about heating your home. The dog days of summer are gone, and winter draws ever closer. Here are five ways to help keep you warm and toasty this season.
Older homes tend to have less insulation in their walls, roofs, attics, and lofts and are therefore less energy-efficient because the warm indoor air will escape through thinly or non-insulated areas. Consider having an energy audit done to determine parts of your home that lack insulation.
An audit will help identify weak spots, define the type of insulation you have, as well as its R-value, or thermal resistance. Learn more about insulation from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Caulk windows and doors
Heat can also escape through gaps and cracks in your windows and doors. Based on some estimates, a home can lose up to 30 percent of its heat energy this way. Seal these gaps using a caulking gun and weather-resistant, interior caulk.
There may also be gaps around your dryer vent and plumbing pipes, which you can fill with an expandable caulking foam. Read more about caulking your windows and doors.
Inspect your boiler or furnace
Naturally, you need to make sure your main heat source is fully functional during the winter, whether you use forced air or hydronic. This also includes making sure your water heater doesn’t freeze or malfunction. If it’s been a while, you may consider calling in a contractor to inspect everything before there’s a problem.
If you use Hydronics, consider installing the latest combination boiler and tankless water heater from Noritz. The NRCB allows for simultaneous residential domestic hot water and space heating—a first in the industry— and performs at a 95% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). You’ll be able to enjoy the continuous hot water and a cozy indoor space at the same time with the same space- and energy-saving appliance.
Check your chimney
Up to 20 percent of warm air can be lost through your chimney flue, according to This Old House. Hire a chimney sweeper to clean things up and inspect the damper. You can even seal the flue with inflatable chimney plugs available on the market.
Let the sunshine in
Take advantage of the sun’s natural warmth, even on the most frigid days, by keeping the curtains open. It’s even better if you have east- or west-facing windows since they will capture the sunrise and sunset, respectively. Using reflective paint colors and installing mirrors in poorly lit areas can also help maximize the amount of light your home gathers from outside.
Putting some of these tips into practice will cut down on those indoor shivers and keep your family comfortable when Old Man Winter comes back to town.