Heritage Restoration, Inc.

House Efficiency Tips

We are having a crazy fall. Periods of warm weather followed by bouts of cold and wind. While I hope we will have more warmth than cold, hope does not make the weather. Every year we make our homes prettier, like a fresh coat of paint or a new bathroom, but making them better somehow falls to the bottom. So instead of grousing about what did not get done this year, here are some tips to make your house more efficient without a lot of investment.

Tune your heating system. A heating system is pretty strait forward: there’s a heat source and a way to distribute it. First, have your system serviced. A qualified technician can make a new system better, or an old system work period, from the boiler to the distribution. We have witnessed ineffective steam systems rejuvenated to functional, which is better than parts of it not work at all or the cost of replacement. Replace old air filters, since they choke a forced hot air system. Open baseboard heat flaps or air events. They can restrict airflow and prevent even distribution. Blocked radiators, be it from furniture or curtains, also make a system less efficient.

Close your windows. This is perhaps the simplest job. Make sure all of your storm windows are properly closed. The outside storm glass should be all the way up and your inside storm glass should be all the way down. Make sure all of your windows are locked, especially windows without storm windows. If you are missing a lock, match the right lock with the right window at the hardware store. If you have missing or broken glass, bring the unit (be it the window or storm window) to a window and glass shop and see if they can replace it. If the window leaks like a sieve, then use a plastic shrink film window insulation kit for the winter. Some backer rod in the gaps will work too.

Seal you doors. The door you use the most should operate well and be air sealed. The doors used less frequently can be weather stripped in a less professional way. Screwed on door sweeps work great for the bottom of a door, or even the draft stoppers can work well. Stick on weather stripping is less effective lasting a few years. A professional can install new weather stripping to make even the most inefficient door draft free. An 1/8” gap around a door is equal to a 3-1/2” square hole in the wall. Areas like basement bulkhead doors can have a blanket hung over it.

Making your heating system work at peak efficiency is best for even the oldest system. Keeping the heat inside the house can be even better. At least you can spend a little less now and keep warm while you plan for next year’s efficiency retrofit.

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