Each season in New England brings with it a unique set of challenges when it comes to the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. While it’s important to stay on top of seasonal changes, like sealing drafty windows with heat-shrink plastic, there are ways to save money year round by weatherproofing – regardless of the current season. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best tips to start you on your way.
- Put an insulating blanket around your water heater. Always check the manufacturer’s manual first, as some newer models should not be wrapped.
- If you have a fireplace, close the damper when it’s not in use. Try not to use the fireplace and central heating system at the same time.
- Close and lock windows when heating or cooling your home. Install shades, awnings, or sun screens on south- and west-facing windows to block summer light. In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms.
- If they aren’t already, insulate ceilings to R-49 standards. Proper insulation is just as important for keeping your house cool in the summer as it is for keeping it warm in the winter. Click here for insulation R-values and what they mean.
- Caulk windows, doors, and anywhere air leaks in or out. Don’t caulk around your water heater and furnace exhaust pipes.
- Weather-strip around windows and doors. Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap or mastic sealant.
- Replace old windows with new high-performance windows.
- Look to common areas, like ductwork; fireplace flues; kitchen and dryer vents; plumbing fixtures; pipes and wires; gaps between floors, walls, and ceilings; crawl spaces; doors and windows; and attic openings for potential air leaks.
- Keep your roof in good repair, and replace any cracked or curled shingles before the rain or snow arrives.
- Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris to prevent the accumulation of water around the foundation of your home.
Unitil has partnered with ENERGY STAR to offer our New Hampshire customers Home Performance with ENERGY STAR [need URL] – a whole-house audit and weatherization program. Participants will receive a comprehensive assessment of their home that includes a visual inspection of lighting and appliances as well as performance testing of the ventilation and mechanical systems, building tightness, and insulation levels.
You may be eligible for a 75% rebate (up to $8,000) on the recommended energy efficiency improvements, and interest-free loans are also available to qualified applicants. Click here or call 603-715-8938 to confirm your eligibility for Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, and be sure to have the square footage of your home and at least one year of heating fuel bill history available.
PRO TIP: The return on investment for high-efficiency vinyl replacement windows is as high as 85%.
Massachusetts customers can get a free preliminary energy efficiency report online by answering just a few questions. If an in-home Home Energy Assessment is advised, an Energy Specialist will assess your home’s current energy use, estimate your potential energy savings, and develop an action plan. We’ll also install energy-saving products at no cost, including ENERGY STAR® certified LED light bulbs, advanced power strips, low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and programmable thermostats.
Your custom home energy report will include all applicable rebates and incentives, such as no-cost targeted air sealing of leaks in drafty areas of your home, 75% off approved insulation improvements, and 0% HEAT Loan financing for eligible system upgrades. To get started, click here or call 866-527-SAVE (7283).