6 Ways to Reduce Heat Loss in Your Wisconsin Home
Wisconsin is known for its beer, brats, and cheese, but also for rather grueling winters. There is a downside to experiencing all four seasons in the Midwest and that is commonly considered the freezing temperatures of its winters, heaps of snow, and roads, roofs, driveways, and sidewalks becoming slick with dangerous ice.
Wisconsin homes must be well equipped to fight off whatever Mother Nature throws their way throughout the tumultuous winters but one major problem that plagues many of these houses is heat loss. Heat loss can occur whether the home is brand new or decades old, but fortunately, there are ways to prevent heat loss from occurring.
1. Weather Stripping and Caulking
Weather stripping your windows and doors might seem like a medial method in reducing heat loss, but don’t underestimate the power of a good seal. Heat loss often occurs when weather stripping is neglected and begins to deteriorate over time. Old seals are the culprits behind drafts and cold air leakage and if more than one window or door suffers from cracked or damaged seals, you’ll notice come winter.
Checking your home’s weather stripping is something you should do once a year as it will help your utility bills in the winter and in the summer. Caulking and reliably strong seals keep the energy in, no matter if it’s air conditioning or heat. Replace old weather stripping immediately. It’s an easy task that requires no special tools or skills.
You can pick up complete weather stripping kits at your local hardware store with the only special step requiring you to trim the rubber seal to the needed length. Use a caulking gun to apply a layer of new caulk around windows and doors. There are different kinds of caulk so be sure to choose one appropriate for sealing exterior thresholds.
2. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
What better way to reduce heat loss than to fill your house with new and improved insulation? Older homes suffer from poor insulation (sometimes old houses will have newspaper in the walls as insulation) or none at all. Insulation not only prevents heat loss, but it will regulate your Wisconsin home’s temperature and conserve its energy in both the winter and summer. Even if you just add insulation rolls to your attic and crawl spaces, you’ll notice a tremendous difference in heat loss reduction and in your monthly utility bills.
3. Install Insulating Curtains
A simple and cost effective way of preventing heat loss is insulating curtains. These curtains are heavier than regular drapes and made from a special material that traps heat, preventing it from escaping out the windows.
4. Upgrade to Energy Star Certified Replacement Windows
A window that sports an Energy Star certification means that it will protect your home from heat loss, lower energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and keep your home a more comfortable temperature. In fact, replacing old windows, doors, and skylights with ones that are Energy Star certified saves an average of 12% on utility bills nationwide. Designed to keep energy inside the home, these windows have insulating gasses that fill the panes and special coatings that protect the home from energy loss and UV radiation.
According to EnergyStar.Gov, Wisconsin homes are in the Northern Zone of the United States and can save $366 annually in heating and cooling costs with single-pane Energy Star windows (22%) and $134.00 with double-pane Energy Star windows (9%). Energy efficient windows will directly reduce heat loss in your home this winter.
5. Seal Your Chimney
Does your Wisconsin home have a chimney? If so, its probably not responsible for solely heating your home during the winter. Most modern homes use the fireplace for aesthetic purposes and some people don’t use their fireplaces hardly at all. Unused chimneys are a source of heat loss, but there are ways to prevent heat from leaking out the chimney.
For one, you can use what’s called a chimney balloon. A chimney balloon is a device that is halfway inflated then inserted inside of the chimney and inflated once again to create a seal that stops air leaks. Modern fireplaces may also be equipped with airtight glass doors that create a seal (or if your fireplace doesn’t have these, you can get them installed to prevent heat loss). Closing the flue when the chimney isn’t in use will also prevent heat from escaping up the chimney.
6. Think Carpet & Area Rugs
If insulation within the wall prevents heat loss then insulation on your bare floors will do the same. Floors are to blame for up to 10% of heat loss if they’re not insulated, according to the National Energy Foundation. Carpets and area rugs are excellent insulators, keeping your feet warm and conserving energy in your home by covering a bare floor’s cracks or gaps.