Energy Efficiency Home Winterization Tips
These tips can make your home more energy efficient and help reduce your winter utility bills.
With the extra expenses that hit your bank account during the holidays, the last thing you need is having to shell out more money to keep your home comfortable. Nobody likes opening a utility bill with a payment total that could be confused with a car payment.
If you’re fortunate to own your own home, there are many options to winterize your home – and potentially save money. Some improvements come with a small price tag and some come with a big price tag.
Here are three home improvements that can make your home more energy efficient and help reduce your winter utility bills.
Home winterization tip #1: Add window and door insulation
This is a relatively inexpensive project and most people can do it themselves.
Home winterization tip #2: Install a programmable thermometer
Having a smart programable thermostat that you can control from your phone is one way to make sure you are not heating your home when no one is there.
Home winterization tip #3: Invest in upgrades
If you plan to stay in your home for a while, major improvements like adding attic insulation, installing an energy efficient furnace, and adding a gas fireplace will cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Over time, these improvements should save you money.
If you don’t have the funds on hand to make these improvements and lowering the heating bill now, you may want to look into using a home equity loan. Home improvements typically maintain or increase the value of your home.
One last tip that is sure to keep you warm: When you make those cookies and hot cocoa to leave for Santa Claus, be sure to make extra for yourself.
Home Winterization Tips for Renters
If you’re a renter, your options for reducing your utility bills may be somewhat limited. Landlords may not have an incentive to winterize your home because they usually don’t pay the utilities. And your rental contract may limit the improvements you can make — and that’s assuming you want to invest the money.
If your rental uses electric heating, has single pane windows, and poor insulation, your best bet may be to find another place. Even if the rent is higher, your total payments may be lower if you can cut back on your heating bills.
The most obvious way to stay warmer is perhaps not the most comfortable, but is popular with your grandma, Santa Claus, and Nanook of the North: Dress in layers. Ugly Christmas sweaters have an actual, practical use! Many Americans, who have not travelled outside the country, may not be aware that in most countries the default is not to heat the whole house. People have stayed warm without central heating for centuries.
If saving money is more important than walking around the house in short sleeves and bare feet, then lowering the temp and dressing warm might be the answer. Maybe you could use the money saved to take a vacation to the beach — where you can walk around in short sleeves and bare feet.
Need a little extra help financing your home winterization projects? Consider a Zions Bank Home Equity Loan and choose from a fixed or variable rate with no points, origination, or closing costs. A Zions Bank Home Equity Credit Line allows homeowners to tap the equity in their house in the form of a revolving line of credit.
Don Milne is Financial Literacy manager for Zions Bank.