How To Stay Warm and Spend Smart with Eco-Friendly Homes.
Wintertime in New England can be pretty challenging—especially when it comes to heating your home.
Because the goal of eco-friendly homes is to be highly energy efficient and environmentally friendly, the belief is that you as the homeowner will also commit to eco-friendly best practices when it comes to your heating decisions during the winter months. Thankfully, as a proven green homebuilder, we at Chinburg Properties know what it takes to not only keep eco-friendly homes warm, but also keep them in good working order throughout the winter.
The following are 5 important heating tips for eco-friendly homes:
1. Change your heating filter
Changing your heating filter is actually something some experts recommend you do every few months (depending upon the type of filter you have). Be sure to check your heating filter before your start using your furnace to see if it’s dirty and in need of replacement. Changing your air filter ensures your furnace is running more efficiently, thereby saving energy and reducing heating costs.
2. Check your fireplace?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the fireplace makes up 14 percent of the total heat loss in the average American home. A common culprit for this heat loss rests with whether your damper is closed. If it’s not, start making it your common practice to keep it closed when the fireplace is not in use. One study shows that you can use up to 30 percent more energy to heat your home when the damper is open. And even if the damper or flue is closed, your fireplace can still end up leaking an additional 14 percent or more of air in the home than it otherwise would.
3. Insulate your windows
The U.S. Dept. of Energy estimates windows account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill by letting heat out—meaning you must check your windows before winter hits. If they’re older, you may need to take some preventative action. Covering windows with insulating shrink-wrap is a simple and affordable way to ensure no cold air is seeping into your house.
If you have purchased a Chinburg Energy Star or high performance home, the windows that were installed in your house will have better thermal protection than most. If you live in an older home, you may want to consider replacing your windows over time, as there have been many developments in the windows and casings that account for better insulation and thermal comfort.
4. Program your thermostat
Programming your thermostat to a conservative temperature is probably one of the easiest things to do. The hard part comes when it’s time to stop yourself from turning the heat up when it’s extra cold out. Also be sure to turn your heat down when not at home. The U.S. Dept. of Energy estimates that households can save 10% annually on heating and cooling bills.
Consider investing in a system like the “Nest” that allows you to control your heat from your smart phone. That way you can keep the temperature down while you are out and make it comfortable for your arrival at the end of the day.
5. Consider alternative heat sources
Why not invest in a better, more renewable heating source than oil? Pellet stoves have proven to be a very popular alternative. While this may come at an initial cost, pellet stoves are 35% less expensive than heating oil. You can also consider bio fuels, which are derived from dead material, and are considered incredibly green because they burn cleaner and reduce emissions.
In a study completed by Chinburg Properties, natural gas was found to be a much more affordable fuel alternative to oil or propane. See if switching to natural gas is an option in your community.
Ensuring eco-friendly homes stay eco-friendly is dependent on you as the homeowner. Employing any one of the tips we’ve mentioned above or using the many others out there will ensure your eco-friendly home is energy efficient and continues to have a low environmental impact.
Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about what it takes to build and maintain custom eco friendly homes. We would love to speak with you about the many possibilities that Chinburg Properties can offer you.