Staying warm this winter: 5 tips to weatherize your home in the coldest months of the year
With Winter upon us and regional temperatures recently hitting a record low, we are here for you with tips to help you save energy during and protect your home from damage during the coldest months of the year! Stay warm and save energy by following these five quick, essential steps:
5. Protect the exterior of your home from winter weather-related damage.
Disconnect and drain all outside hoses, and empty out your rain barrel, if you have one in your yard. If possible, shut off outside water valves, to prevent hoses from freezing and breaking. Water expands when it freezes!
4. Help your vents help you, by keeping them clear of snow and ice.
Remove snow or ice from any outdoor vents, including dryer and furnace vents. When they are blocked, air cannot flow freely and therefor carbon monoxide may build up in your home.
3. Remove fallen leaves and sticks out your gutters.
Check any downspouts and gutters for leaf build-up. By clearing away any leaf accumulation, you can ensure that melting snow can move off your roof freely, rather than freezing and causing problems on your roof or forming ice dams.
2. Get an energy audit: participate in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program to reduce your energy bills.
Participants may qualify to receive rebates up to $7,500.00, and you will learn steps you can take to reduce your daily energy usage while still keeping your home cozy. All Montgomery County single-family homes and townhomes are eligible for $400 home energy audit at the discounted rate of $100.00* because of the EmPOWER Maryland Program.
These audits are available through Pepco, BGE, or Potomac Edison‘s and include an installation of several simple measures, such as LED bulbs, wrapping your water heater pipe(s), ShowerStart™ showerhead adapters, efficient-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and power strips), a recommendation of improvements and available rebates to make your home more energy-efficient, comfortable, healthy and safe. Participants also receive a detailed report on the potential energy savings you can enjoy by making the recommended improvements.
The Maryland utilities also offer rebates for work performed by participating Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractors, who have committed to work to the highest standards of quality. The utilities check the work to ensure quality, too. Montgomery County also provides an Energy Efficiency Tax Credit for certain home upgrades, and Takoma Park has additional rebates. Low-income Montgomery County residents may qualify for no-cost weatherization through Montgomery County’s Weatherization Program or through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Low Income Energy Efficiency Program.
1. Test your home for radon.
Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas created during the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soils. It typically moves up through the ground and into homes and buildings through cracks and holes in the foundation. You can test your home with a take-home kit. To learn more, check out the EPA’s “Citizen’s Guide to Radon,” available for download here.
- Capital Park Realty’s Homeowner Winter Checklist
- Insulation tips from ENERGY STAR
- Department of Energy’s informational page about weatherization
*Please note that the $100 offer is valid for homes up to 3,000 square feet with a single combustion appliance zone. Audits of larger homes or ones with multiple combustion appliance zones may cost more. Customers should discuss the cost with their selected participating contractor.
Questions about this blog post? Comment below or contact us at Energy@montgomerycountymd.gov!