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Winterizing Your Home the Green Way

Winterizing Your Home the Green Way

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When winter comes, it seems like the easiest thing to do is to crank up the heat, let the fireplace roar, and keep your hands firmly wrapped around a cup of hot chocolate for four months. While all these are appealing, only one is actually cheap, and that comes with the danger of burning your hands. Turning up the heat is both expensive and environmentally unfriendly, and even a fireplace comes with its own problems. Here are some easy tips to keep you warm, wealthy and green this summer.


This seems very simple, but its simplicity is what makes most people overlook it. A “draft snake” can be as easy as a rolled-up towel placed at the base of a door to keep the cold from coming in and the heat from going out. You can buy one at the store, or make on yourself with just some fabric and weight, like sand or beans. You’ll be surprised at the physical and mental benefits that come with dodging the draft.


This is one people generally don’t think of, or even know about. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows them to be reversed, which actually warms up a room by circulating hot air instead of churning cold air. While it is counter-intuitive to run your fans during the winter, it is one of the easier ways to keep a room warm without continuously pumping new heat into it.


You know that when your car has problems with the engine, it burns up more gas and oil in an inefficient and polluting matter. Your heating system is no different. Make sure that your heaters are all working properly. This way, you won’t have to turn it up so high, which wastes electricity, is worse for the environment, and sucks money out of your pockets. A heating and cooling technician can help you with this, but make sure you call them early, before they get backed up with requests from people without your foresight.


I know, I know- no one likes to take anything less than a super-hot shower when you wake up to frosted windows and the distant, gloomy sound of snow being shoveled. But turning down the heat 140 to 120 can save you a lot of money and reduce your carbon impact. You can also think about contacting a solar installation technician to talk about a solar water heating system, which will use even less energy, and avoid the complications of a tank-based water-heating-system, which is relatively inefficient.


You probably don’t have any gaping holes in your house (well, except for doors and windows, i suppose). But there are most likely small leaks around the outside of your house, due to the expansion and contraction of wood, or just normal wear and tear. It will save you a ton of money this winter if you inspect the house for leaks and repair them. This can sometimes be done with good old trustworthy caulk, but some might need a touch of carpentry. Don’t be afraid to ask a certified carpenter to help you with the inspection and repair.

These are all tips for cheap and easy ways to use less energy and to make your house run smoother and warmer. If you want to go big, contact a general contractor to run an energy audit on your house. You can find out how to make your house efficient year-round. But for now, remember that going green can make for a warmer winter.

--Mitch Logan

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