Massachusetts winters can be brutal, but it’s even worse when your home doesn’t protect you like it should! If you’re used to cold feet, drafty rooms, and wearing your winter clothes indoors, it might be time to make some energy-efficient upgrades so that you can be comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside. Here are 8 easy and affordable ways to make your home more energy-efficient and warmer this season and for years to come.
Check your heating system’s efficiency
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), approximately 43% of your home energy bill goes to heating and cooling. Not only will checking your system’s efficiency make sure that it’s working its best for you, but it will also help to ensure that you’re not losing energy due to a minor (or major!) issue. If you don’t feel like your system is working like it used to, it might be time for a check-up, tune-up, or system upgrade. HVAC preventative maintenance plans are always a smart solution so that you can be assured that there aren’t any issues preventing your system from performing its best and keeping you warm.
Insulating your home is key
Did you know that 9 out of 10 homes in the U.S. are under-insulated (energystar.gov)? The U.S. DOE says that “increasing your home’s insulation is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy waste” and make your home more comfortable year-round. Besides making your home warmer when winter hits, a properly insulated home can improve indoor air quality, save you money, increase the barrier from outside noise, and make your home heat and cool more consistently. With the Mass Save® program, homeowners and renters like you can be eligible for 75-100% off insulation which allows you to make your home warmer in a way that doesn’t break the bank.
Find the leaks in your home
If you have drafty rooms in your home, that’s a sign that heat (and money) are leaking out of the cracks, holes, and gaps in your home! According to the U.S. DOE, “the potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year.” While home air sealing might sound like a big investment, you can get the entire project covered through the Mass Save® program! That’s right; 100% of home air sealing is covered for eligible Massachusetts residents after a no-cost virtual Home Energy Assessment. Insulating your home and home air sealing really work best together and are quite the team when it comes to keeping warmth inside during the winter. Just imagine your home wearing a windbreaker over a winter sweater; that’s what a complete seal looks like!
Take advantage of the sun
A simple, no-cost trick to keep your home warm during the winter is to naturally heat your home by taking advantage of the sunlight that you get throughout the day. Open curtains on south-facing windows during the day and close them at night so that your home doesn’t lose heat through the windows when you’re asleep. There’s a reason that people built their homes into the sides of cliffs that were facing the south! Planning on renovating with passive solar heating in mind? Concrete, tile, brick, and stone are the most effective passive solar heating materials. Just make sure the winter sun can reach them!
Get a home energy assessment
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends getting a home energy assessment, which can tell you a lot about how your home consumes and loses energy. HomeWorks Energy offers no-cost virtual home energy assessments, and they’re a Mass Save® partner, which means that you get access to generous rebates and no-cost items such as energy-efficient showerheads, energy-saving LED lightbulbs, programmable thermostats, and advanced power strips. Certified home energy experts will be able to show you exactly how your home stands up to recommended standards and how to make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable during all seasons.
How often do you change your air filter?
Changing your air filter every month is a good rule of thumb, especially if you have pets or have family members with allergies or respiratory illnesses. According to the DOE, “replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by 5% to 15%.” Besides reducing your energy, it can make sure that your system isn’t struggling to make your home comfortable. Don’t make your HVAC work harder than it should to heat your home because of a lack of recommended care and HVAC preventative maintenance.
Get a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule for your home’s temperature and it will automatically regulate it when you’re home or away. Did you know that “you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day (energy.gov)” from where you typically have it set? Programmable thermostats can help you keep your home warm while maintaining control of your home’s energy use. A myth is that a furnace works even harder to warm your home back to its normal temperature after it has been set back at night, meaning no energy savings and a waste of time. This is actually not true at all, according to the U.S. DOE. “The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature.” Did you know that the Mass Save® program offers programmable thermostats at no-cost to eligible Massachusetts residents?
Consider a ductless mini-split installation
According to the U.S. DOE, duct losses account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning in a typical home. Ductless mini-split systems have no ducts, so they avoid the energy losses associated with the ductwork of central forced air systems. Ductless mini split systems, or mini-split heat pumps, as they’re sometimes called, fit a variety of homes with unique needs. If you have an addition on your home that never seems to be as warm as the rest of the house or you want to heat individual rooms to save energy, DMS systems are a great energy-efficient option. Learn more here on the HomeWorks Energy blog or schedule a Heating & Cooling Consultation to chat with a home energy expert.
Who doesn’t want a warm home during the winter? The good news is that it’s achievable and affordable with the Mass Save® program. All you have to do is complete a no-cost virtual Home Energy Assessment and then you get access to incentives such as 75-100% off insulation, 100% off air sealing, and no-cost items mailed straight to your door like energy-saving LED lightbulbs, programmable thermostats, smart power strips, and energy-efficient showerheads.
HomeWorks Energy is a proud Mass Save® partner and is dedicated to helping Massachusetts residents reduce energy and save money. Call 781-305-3319 or click here to schedule a no-cost virtual Home Energy Assessment and get access to all of the generous Mass Save® rebates and start making your home warm for the winter.