Balancing comfort and energy efficiency in the winter is a challenge for any homeowner. But living, in South Jersey adds a few more complications.
First of all, that lovely ocean breeze translates into wind and drafts once summer’s over. Next, most houses have crawl spaces underneath. This design helps prevent flood and water damage, but it provides less insulation and makes it more likely for pipes to freeze.
Fortunately, you don’t have to put up with a cold nose or frosty toes at home just to keep your bills reasonable. We’ve compiled ten ways for you to keep your home warm without turning up the thermostat or otherwise raising your bills.
These run the gamut from free, DIY ideas to calling in professionals to making some more significant heating and cooling investments. But, there’s plenty to choose from.
10 Strategies For Lower Energy Bills This Winter
- Put Down Area Rugs
- Put Blankets on Couches
- Open And Close Curtains
- Seal Windows And Doors
- Get An Energy Audit
- Insulate Water Pipes
- Winterize Vacation Homes
- Install a Smart Thermostat
- Get A Furnace Tune-Up
- Go Ductless
Put Down Area Rugs
Hardwood floors look a lot better than they feel in the winter. They don’t retain heat nearly as well as carpeting, but area rugs give you the best of both worlds.
Buy a few thick rugs you can put down in the winter and roll back up in the spring. The right designs can give each room a special winter feel while keeping you warm.
Put Blankets on Couches
A similar strategy to area rugs is laying blankets on couches. If you’re not one to wrap yourself up, just putting them where you sit helps keep your body heat from escaping.
It’s especially helpful in the living room because you’re not moving around once you’re settling in with a book or to watch TV. The blankets go a long way without constricting you. And, once again, you’ve got some design options.
Open And Close Curtains
Your curtains let you get the most out of the sunlight while keeping you warmer at night. In the morning, open the curtains and let the sun’s rays add extra heat to each room. Then, close them at night to block drafts.
You can take this a step further with thermal curtains that do an even better job of keeping the heat inside. But, generally, the heavier the curtains, the better.
Seal Windows And Doors
Stretching large pieces of plastic across a window doesn’t look great, but boy does it do a fantastic job of blocking drafts! That at least makes this strategy suitable for bedrooms or rooms you don’t use too often.
For living rooms and common areas, you can also put draft blockers on the window sills. They’re more decorative, even if they don’t work quite as well. But, you can also get them for the bottoms of doors.
Get An Energy Audit
When you’re ready to take a step beyond DIY, it’s time for an energy audit. This way, you’ll have an expert inspect your entire home and tell you exactly where you’re losing heat in the winter (or cooling the summer).
You can get this low-cost or even free through PSE&G or Atlantic City Electric, depending on your provider. But, that’s just the report. You need a contractor for any work, but you’ll at least have a road map.
Insulate Water Pipes
Insulating your water pipes is a solid idea for any home. And, near the Jersey shore, with those crawl spaces we mentioned before, it’s an even better strategy.
Our homes are often more prone to frozen pipes because the pipes are exposed underneath the house. Meanwhile, the colder the water is when it comes into the heater, the more energy your system uses to warm it up.
Insulating the pipes prevents freezing and can help lower your energy bills. Once you do this, you can drop the temperature on the water heater by a few degrees.
Winterize Vacation Homes
This one’s a little roundabout when it comes to lowering energy bills, but this heating and cooling service a must for second homes and vacation houses: Winterizing a property when no one will be there during the colder months.
This process includes making sure there is no water in any pipe or appliance. Otherwise, you need to keep the heat on higher all winter. If you don’t, you run the risk of ice causing a burst and flooding your home.
Install a Smart Thermostat
We talk a lot about smart thermostats, especially for South Jersey homes here and here. The long story short is that they give you a lot more control over your house’s temperature changes.
Get A Furnace Tune-Up
When your furnace is in great shape, it uses less energy and keeps your home more comfortable. To make sure that’s what you’re working with, get a furnace tune-up in the fall.
With a tune-up, you’ll have a certified tech clean out the system, optimize all the moving parts, and replace any broken or worn-down parts before there’s a problem. This way, the system pushes more hot air and uses less energy to do it. And, you’re less likely to need an HVAC repair.
We’re cheating a little with this one: It’s less of a “tip” and more of a “major investment.” But, we’re tacking it on the end for those of you who want to get serious about energy efficiency and home comfort.
And these systems use way less energy than any fossil fuel-burning system like gas or oil furnaces and boilers.
Heating and Cooling in Upper Township, NJ
Do you want to feel warmer and more comfortable in your Upper Township, NJ home this winter than ever before — while somehow also paying less on your utility bills? It’s possible — and we can help!