Though truly cold weather is rare in Seattle, the seemingly constant rain and early sunsets of winter often make us Northwest residents want to hibernate inside until the (somewhat) drier, warmer spring months. Although holing up in a cozy, warm house may seem appealing, it can also result in an outsized energy bill. But there are several simple steps you can take to maximize your home’s energy efficiency in the colder months.
According to HouseLogic, the average homeowner wastes nearly $350 per year on heat that escapes through leaks around doors and windows, attics, gaps around recessed lights, and other poorly sealed openings. They suggest caulking and installing weatherstripping around windows and doors, installing “baffles” around recessed lights that are not airtight (look for a label on your light indicating that it is ICAT – Insulation Contact and Airtight), sealing cracks around pull-down attic stairs or hatches, and caulking the area where the framing meets the foundation in your home’s basement.
Though we all love the look and ambiance of a traditional wood-burning fireplace, they tend to let warm air that’s already inside your home out through the chimney. HouseLogic suggests using a gel fireplace insert, which is both eco-friendly, as it produces no smoke, and efficient, as there is no chimney where warm air can escape.
Spending the majority of your time indoors during the winter can also make you feel sluggish, especially if your home has a lack of natural light. Remove screens from your windows to let more light in, make sure lightbulbs are dust-free (cleaning bulbs alone can make homes appear 30 percent brighter), and if you have rooms that are particularly dark, consider painting them a warm orange or yellow to brighten them up. Additionally, indoor plants improve air quality and add a natural element to your home.
If you are interested in real estate in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.