Commentary: Don’t let this winter leave your bank account in the cold

Emily Greene

Wondering why even though you turned up the heat it still feels cold in the house? Is your warm fireplace sending warm air out of your chimney? The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC) would like to share a few simple tips and fixes to help you stay warm this winter and save money by saving energy.

Places like doorways and windows are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to letting cold air into your home. If you can see light coming through the space around your door, cold air is getting in. Adding new weatherstripping to the door can help close that gap. If the gap is at the bottom, you can place a blanket up against the full length of the doorway for a temporary solution.

Be sure to also check your windows for cracks, gaps, or missing caulk around the frame, and don’t forget to pull down the storm window if you have one. You can use new caulk, weatherstrips, or buy plastic sheets to tape around the windows and prevent cold air from getting in. Still not sure if cold air is getting in? A simple test is to shut a sheet of paper or dollar bill in the door or window. If you can pull it out without any tension, you have cold air sneaking into your home, costing you more money.

Many times, cold air gets into our homes in places we least expect it: recessed lights, unfinished spaces behind closets, electrical outlets, HVAC closets, and more. A quick and easy fix to some of these problem areas only requires a few dollars and a trip to your local Walmart or hardware store. There you will find foam sealers to put behind outlet and switch covers in your home. You will also find low-expansion spray foam to fill larger gaps around your windows or where pipes, ducting, and plumping come through the wall. In just a few minutes you can start saving money and stop cold air from getting in. Be sure to use fire-resistant materials when sealing leaks around the fireplace, furnace, or gas-fired water heaters. Call a professional with any questions to prevent injury or accidents.

Fireplaces can be very cost effective when it comes to heating your home in the winter. However, sometimes they end up being a way for cold air to get in. When you are not using the fireplace, be sure to keep the damper closed. Leaving the damper open is like leaving a window open and allows cool air to get in your home. If you never use your fireplace, be sure to close and seal the chimney flue.

Before you begin heating your home each year, be sure to have a certified chimney sweep clean the chimney and inspect all the components of your fireplace to help it function efficiently and safely. Also, check for gaps around the chimney that may be letting cool air in through your attic or crawl space.

With all the cold air that can get in your home, are you wondering if there is any way to help heat your home? While the winter typically brings cold air and snow, the sun can help heat your home if you follow these simple steps. During the day, open the curtains for windows that face south to allow sunlight in and naturally warm up a room. At night, close the curtains to create a thermal barrier and keep the chill from cold windows out. Consider using black-out curtains for an even stronger effect.

For more energy efficiency tips, visit www.PublicPowerDE.com or follow DEMEC on Facebook @DEMECINC.

Emily Greene is Energy Services manager at Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment