Richmond, winter is here. As I type this blog post, there is snow falling outside my door and the temperatures are at a record low. The Governor has declared a state of emergency, and the roads are treacherous. Since we are likely going to be below freezing for the next several days, this will be the state of things for a while.
The Winter of 2018 has barely started, but my heat pump hasn’t stopped running, the upstairs toilet is frozen, and the thought of my next power bill already makes me cringe.
What’s to be done?
Well, luckily for you, unlike poor Ned Stark, you can do more than hunker down in your castle and wait for the White Walkers.
Your home may not be “new”- but it could hardly be called “old”…and you’re probably wondering, “How can I get the most out of my heating dollars and minimize the effects of this weather on my budget?”
Luckily there are some cheap, quick things that you CAN do- today- to winterize your home & maximize your comfort.
- Change your air filter- this one is key. If your heating system can’t pull air easily through your filter, it’s using a lot more power than it needs to. Keep that thing CLEAN and you’ll be amazed at the difference. Your home will stay cleaner, smell better; while your power bills go down and your comfort goes up.
- Find air leaks, and seal them. Every home has a couple of weak spots where air comes in, and they are easiest to identify when it gets this cold out. I spent $15 on some weatherstripping last night, stuck it on the door and window frames in about twenty minutes, and today my house is noticeably warmer. There are a million options for this but don’t get overwhelmed- just do something, it will definitely be better than nothing. Some commonly overlooked spots are around your dryer vent, under your sink, access panels, and the entrances to your attic or other unconditioned space.
- Check under your sink for air leaks. This one can cause big problems with frozen pipes as well as cold air. Insulating those water lines under your house can save you money not only on water heating but by preventing costly frozen and burst plumbing. If you can’t do anything about this in the midst of today’s deep freeze- leave a trickle of water running, and flush your toilets often.
- Use space heaters carefully. Please. Make sure they are in good condition, are never left unattended, and that combustibles are kept far away from them.
- When you get your home as airtight as possible, it is doubly important that you check your carbon monoxide detector often. CO2 is a colorless, odorless gas that is a product of combustion- it can quickly build to deadly levels without warning, so protect yourself and your family. Be on the lookout for headaches, dizziness, confusion – signs of CO2 poisoning- as well.