Preparing Your Home for an Energy Efficient Winter
As winter approaches, Alaskans are preparing for several months of shorter daylight, colder temperatures and many are anticipating spending more time at home.
Whether you are looking forward to hunkering down during the winter months or are eager to combat the darker evenings, there are steps you can take to brighten your home and keep your household comfortable without compromising on energy efficiency.
Upgrade Your Lighting
In 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that incandescent light bulbs would be phased out starting on Aug. 1, 2023. This means that bulbs producing fewer than 45 lumens per watt will no longer be manufactured and sold.
With this change in effect, it could be a good time to swap out incandescent bulbs for energy efficient LED options.
While LED bulbs can cost more ($3-$6 per bulb, compared to $1-$2 for incandescent bulbs), Energy Saver reports that LED light bulbs may last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and may save hundreds of dollars on electricity bills during their lifespan.
Maintain Your Heating System
While the specific steps to keep a home comfortable will vary depending on the heating system, there are general tips recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy:
- Program your thermostat so heat is reduced when you are asleep or away from home.
- Replace furnace and heat pump filters.
- Hire a professional technician to service your home’s heat pump at least once a year.
- Hire a certified chimney sweep to inspect and service your wood-burning system, and regularly clean the flue vent of wood-burning heaters.
- If your home has a fireplace that you don’t use, plug and seal the chimney flue.
Hire an Energy Rater
If you find that it is difficult or very expensive to keep your home feeling comfortable during the colder months, hire a certified energy rater to help you identify inefficiencies in your home’s insulation, air sealing, and heating system. These experts can help homeowners to better understand how a building is using energy and can recommend a plan to enhance the energy efficiency and comfort of your home.
Alaskans can find a qualified professional by searching AHFC’s list of energy raters by community.
Looking for more resources? Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s department of Research and Rural Development provides information, tips and tools to help homeowners better understand energy efficiency.