4 Simple Ways to Improve the Efficiency of Your Older Home This Winter

We’re no strangers to the charm of historic homes. Here in Westchester and Fairfield counties, it has been our privilege to restore, remodel, and expand many beautiful old properties. In fact, it’s one of our specialties.

As alluring as sun-soaked hardwood, picture windows, fireplaces, and sprawling layouts can be, there is no denying that efficiency is not the strong suit of these local beauties. It doesn’t make you love them any less, but it just might leave you wondering what you can do about it.

Window replacements and larger-scale updates are wise investments, but for the meantime we have a few simpler tips to help you weather the winter.

What Can You Do To Boost Your Home’s Efficiency? 

#1 Consider Your Home’s Envelope

Before you swap out appliances and fixtures, start with an analysis of the heavy hitters that make or break your home’s efficiency: attic, walls, windows, and doors. Adding insulation to your attic, for example, can drastically improve how well heat is retained this winter.

You might consider contacting a local professional for an energy audit. They can help you pinpoint the weakest of your weak points, allowing you to better formulate your long term plan.

#2 Slow Drafts Around Your Windows and Doors

While replacement with more efficient, updated models is always ideal, we get that sometimes now just isn’t the time. With that said, we suggest investing in a draft stopper to block cold air that creeps underneath your door. You can make one yourself, or you can purchase one online or at any home supply/improvement store.

Replacing the weatherstripping on exterior doors can also help substantially.

If your windows are giving you trouble, here are a few ideas:

  • Use rope caulk to fill any cracked areas
  • Consider plastic shrink wrap kits to insulate your window with a draft-preventing pocket of air
  • Swap your curtains out for heavy draperies designed to better insulate your windows. This is a tried and true technique!

#3 Service Your Furnace

It may not be a replacement for a high-efficiency model, but a cleaned and serviced heating system will help you get the very most out of what you have. Your technician also can help you nip any budding issues early on, maximizing the lifespan of your furnace as well.

#4 Keep Your Fireplace Damper Closed

Do you occasionally use your fireplace? If so, be sure you close your damper when it’s not in use. And, we hate to say it, but despite the cozy factor your fireplace is really not an efficient way to heat a room. We suggest keeping fires to a minimum!

Unless it would harm the historic integrity of your home, you also may benefit from installing glass doors to further seal your fireplace when it’s not being used.

Make a Plan for Home Improvement!

The very best thing you can do for your wallet and your property is to make an actionable plan for valuable upgrades. Talk with a home improvement professional who understands the unique needs and characteristics of older properties, and who can develop creative solutions to reach your goals. Beyond keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, thoughtful upgrades add undeniable value that will certainly offer a return over time.