By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Region – Although it doesn's really feel like winter yet, we know it's only a matter of time before the temperature drops. And colder weather means higher electric bills. According to Jeff Kaliner, co-founder of Marlborough-based Power Home Remodeling Group, there are several easy and inexpensive ways to cut back on your home's heat loss.
There is still time to take advantage of these cold weather home improvement ideas before the next nor'saster hits –
1. Reverse heat loss by adjusting your ceiling fans. By changing your ceiling fans” rotational direction, warm air will be pushed back into the room before it dissipates, getting more mileage out of the energy used by your heater. It's that simple!
2. Keep heated air from escaping by sealing small cracks and leaks with caulk. You wouldn's leave a door or window cracked in the winter, would you? Warm air will seep out of the smallest of openings in cold weather, so a fresh beading of caulk around windows, doors and outlet covers will keep heated air where it's meant to be â” in your home.
3. Preparation is the key to safely using alternative heating methods in your home. Space heaters and wood-burning stoves are a tempting alternative to furnace-only home heating with the high cost of oil, but these methods can be risky. Residue in the chimney above a wood-burning fireplace naturally builds up over time and is highly combustible. Get your chimney ready for winter by inspecting for blockages, closing the damper to prevent wildlife or other debris from entering while it's in use, and consider having it professionally cleaned for extra safety. Warm-air humidifiers also offer a safer alternative to space heaters for adding extra warmth to individual rooms.
4. Programmable thermostats help control heat use on hectic winter days. How many times have you left for work in the morning or gone away for the weekend with the heat blazing? A programmable thermostat ensures you'se heating your home only when you'se there to use it, saving you an average of about $180 per year according to the U.S. Department of Energy.