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Washington DC Real Estate Resource Center: Winterize your DC Home for Energy Efficiency

The Farmer's Almanac predicts a colder and wetter than usual winter for the metropolitan Washington, DC area this year. Below are suggestions to prepare your home for the winter with energy efficiency in mind.

If possible, insulate your home. Think of insulation as the home's winter coat. Insulation keeps a home warm and energy efficient. Make sure the attic, exterior basement walls, floors, and any crawl spaces are insulated. Insulate water heaters and exposed pipes with a special "blanket" found in home supply stores.

Next, seal all cracks and openings in your home to prevent the loss of heat. Put weather stripping between heated and unheated areas such as garages, basements, and attics. Weather strip all doors and windows that do not seal tightly. Remove window air conditioning units from windows. If they can not be removed, cover them to help stop drafts.

Install a programmable thermostat and adjust it to your schedule. This way you heat your home when awake. You will save energy when you are sleeping or away from the house.

Because the heating system works hard during the winter months, it makes sense to make sure the system is working at top performance. Replace the furnace air filter before you need to use the heat. Dirty filters reduce air flow. Replace or clean the filters once a month during the winter.

Set the central heating fan switch to auto position. If the fan is left in the "on" position, the heating system increases your energy costs.

Make sure all heating registers and vents are not blocked by furniture or drapes.

Use ceiling fans to increase the air flow in the house. Use them by reversing the direction of the blades (counter-clockwise). This pushes warm air downwards.

The least expensive way to heat a home is using the sun. Open all blinds, drapes, curtains, and shades to allow sunlight to warm rooms during the day and close them at night to conserve heat.

Humidifiers can make a home feel warmer in the winter by adding moisture to the air.

Open and close doors and windows as infrequently as possible.

Power down computers and electronic products when they are not being used. Computers and electronics use energy even when switched off, but still connected to an outlet.

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Michelle Buckman Real Estate

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