Nov 16 - How to Conserve Energy at Home During the Winter (Guest Post)

When the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, many of us have the tendency to retreat back inside our homes and crank up the heat. At Modernize, we believe your home is your sanctuary and should keep you safe and warm. However, we also believe you can do that and save energy, money, and the planet. So what we’re saying is, yes, you can have it all. 

Not sure where to begin? Here are a some of the best ways to get started.  

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Learn How to Detect Air Leaks
One of the best ways to lose money and expend more energy in your house is through air leaks. These sneaky, open passageways are the biggest threat to a well-heated home and, when they go undetected, can suck up all the precious heat in your house without you ever knowing…that is until you get your monthly utilities bill. You may think you know where the air leaks are, however, it isn’t the under-the-door draft that’s giving you a chill—it’s the leaks you can’t see that cause the most harm. 

If you think that you are suffering from one of those elusive leaks, there are several ways you can detect air leaks, visually, and on your own, both in and out of your home. To start, step outside and take a look at the exterior corners of your home and places where the siding or chimneys meet. Even the foundation and bottom of the exterior can be a home for air leaks, so keep an eye out for any potential gaps as you search. 

When you step back inside, inspect similar likely suspects like outlets, baseboards, door and window frames, fireplace dampers, and mounted air conditioners or dryer vents that pass through walls. These are all spots that could potentially have gaps and cracks that wreak havoc on your home’s heating system. Locating them and sealing them properly either on your own or with the help of a professional will dramatically increase how much energy you actually need to effectively heat your home. For a more thorough inspection, have a qualified technician to do a blower test, which de-pressurizes your home and accurately detects any and all leaks. 

Seal in Heat Around the House
In addition to establishing and sealing up your house’s leaks, there’s also plenty of things you can do in and around the house to not only conserve energy but maximize your home’s heat-saving potential as well. 

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●    If you have a home that gets a lot of sun during the day, open up the curtains to south-facing windows to let in the light and absorb the heat. 
●    If there is a wood-burning fireplace in your home, consider replacing it with a pellet stove to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and use less energy. Install tempered glass doors on your pellet stove as well to maintain heat.
●    During the day when you are home, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and then set it back down 10-15 degrees lower when you go to sleep to save energy
●    Turn down your water temperature to 120 degrees fahrenheit to avoid scalding your hands.

Take the extra time to implement these easy yet effective tips and not only will you stay warm this winter, but you’ll feel good about the energy you’re saving, too. 

Katherine Oakes is a writer, yoga instructor, and vocalist living in Northern New Jersey.