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Keep Your Home Warm this Winter!

Today is the last day of summer.  The days are getting shorter and cooler.  Before you know it, it will be time to turn on the heat.  You might be thinking of ways to lower your heating bills and make your home more energy efficient.  So, what are your choices?  Replacing windows is costly.  Or maybe you rent and you can’t make any big changes.  

Luckily, there are several things you can do to help keep your home warmer during the winter months without price-prohibitive renovations.  I had the opportunity to speak with Brian Besold, co-founder of San Francisco Bay Area home performance firm Kevel, who offered several helpful tips.

A common recommendation is using 3M plastic on your windows.  It does make a difference but only for a few months because the adhesive wears off after a while.  Plus, it looks terrible and makes window inoperable so you can’t open it.   If there's an unseasonably warm day and you want to let in some fresh air, you simply can't if you have the plastic on your windows.

Instead, Besold recommends Indow Windows.  (pictured left) Indow Windows produces a plexiglass panel that can be tailored to fit your window.  All you have to do is pop it into your current window frame and viola!  It serves the same purpose as a double pane window, but at a fraction of the cost.  

Programmable thermostats, also called comfort controllers, are useful as well.  They allow you to program when you'd like the temperature to be lowered or higher.  Comfort controllers are getting smarter and can "learn" your heating habits.  For a smarter comfort controller, Besold recommends Nest.  He explains, “The Nest teaches you how to interface more efficiently with your home.”   You can even use it through your smartphone.  The Nest makes a big difference in heating bills and reduces wasted energy.    For more information, check out this Engadget post about Nest.  

Lastly, Besold also suggests using Oil-Filled Radian Heaters as opposed to electric wall heaters.  Not only are they more energy efficient, but the real benefit is that you can bring it into whichever room you need heated.

These tips will help you keep warm, save energy, and not break the bank.  

For more tips, read my 2009 post about keeping your home warm in the winter.

Happy fall!