With Thanksgiving just around the corner, winter is starting to settle into West Michigan. As much as we’d like to believe it’s still fall, those chilly nights and morning frosts tell us it’s probably time to start getting the home ready for the winter weather. While many of us would like to just keep turning the thermostat up until we’re comfortable, that’s not always the most practical, or environmentally friendly solution. If you’re concerned about maintaining an energy efficient home through the winter, here are a few ideas to consider that will save on energy, while still keeping your home nice and warm:
Make Sure Heat Vents are Clear
Most newer custom homes in West Michigan have forced air, which is a great, low-cost way to keep a house toasty warm. Just make sure you’re not blocking heat vents with furniture, or clothing. It might be cozy to sit on a couch that’s just inches away from the warm air, or warm your socks on the vent, but the closer you put things to those heating vents, the colder your home will be. That’s because furniture and anything else you put on those vents will absorb the heat, instead of letting it flow through your home. Keep heating vents as clear as possible to make the most of your forced air heat.
Let Sunlight In During the Day
Sunlight is a powerful heating agent, and best of all it’s free. If you’re looking to heat your home more efficiently this winter, be sure to let in as much sunlight during the day as you can. Keep curtains open, especially during the afternoon when the sun is at its peak. A little sunlight can go a long way towards a more efficiently heated custom home.
Close Curtains at Night
In the same vein, after you’ve let all that warm sunshine in during the day, keep it within your home by closing your curtains before the sun goes down. Curtains act as another barrier of insulation between your home and your windows, and some curtains are even made specifically to keep warm air in, and cool air out.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
The best way to be absolutely sure that your home will be the right temperature for you at all times is to invest in a programmable thermostat. The most basic versions will allow you to set temperatures to align with your usual weekly routine — warmer during the mornings and evenings, and cooler during the day and at night when you’re at work and asleep. This ensures you maximize your heat to keep you the warmest.
For ultimate comfort, you might consider investing in a smart thermostat. These are especially handy for larger custom homes where some areas of the house might not get as much traffic as others. The smart thermostat will gradually learn your usual habits and adjust interior temperatures of your home accordingly. You can also control it from your phone to make sure the home cools down while you’re away, and heats back up before you get home from work.
Upgrade Weather Stripping
New custom home owners won’t need to worry about this step, but if you’ve been in your home for a few years, you might consider upgrading your weather stripping to keep warm air in, and cold air out.
When your home heats up in the winter, it creates a kind of vacuum that seeks to suck in cold air from the outside. That’s why it’s so important to make sure any crack or crevice is properly stopped.
The majority of these cold air spaces can be found around windows or doors, which is where you need to apply weather stripping. If you haven’t changed or added new weather stripping around windows or doors in a few years, it’s a good idea to replace that now before winter really sets in. New weather stripping will work to block that cold air from creeping into your home.
Shut Doors to Unused Rooms
If you’re really hoping to keep your home warm efficiently this winter, then think about shutting off certain rooms you may not use all that often. If there’s an office or study that’s only used occasionally, you can shut the door and close the heating vent that goes to that room, essentially minimizing the square footage of your home that your heater has to warm up. This means a warmer home and less work for your furnace.
You can also use this trick in reverse — if you work from home and want your office to be nice and toasty when you sit down in the morning, close the door to your office before you go to bed at night. Because the room is much smaller than the larger spaces of your home, there will be more heat trapped in that room when you wake up, meaning a warm, comfortable space for you to start your day.
At the end of a cold West Michigan winter day, we all want a warm, cozy house to come home to. If your house just doesn’t seem to hold in the heat, or if you wish you had a more efficient, environmentally friendly home, let us know.
At Whitmore Custom Homes, we build homes that suit your needs, your style, and your choices. If energy efficiency is important to you — we can help. Check out some of our previously built West Michigan custom homes, and get in touch if you’d like to chat about what your dream home could look like.