During the winter months, it's inevitable that your heating costs will increase substantially. However, by performing a few simple tasks, you can ensure that you're not paying more than you have to. By closing your crawl space vents, and taking a few other easy and inexpensive measures, you can save energy, make your home more comfortable and decrease your utility costs.
Crawl space vents
During the summer months, your crawl space vents help air flow under the home. The draft prevents a buildup of moisture, which causes mold and mildew to grow. However, in the winter, the Atlanta air is not as humid, so the crawl space vents should be closed, sealed and insulated to prevent cold air from entering underneath your house.
Windows and doors
If you have any cracks or gaps in your windows or doors, use weatherstripping and caulking to seal the air gaps. In addition, place heavy plastic or film on the inside of your windows. Make sure that the material is clear, so your visibility won't be affected. You can also install insulating shades or drapes to help keep the warm air in your house and lower your heating costs.
Don't open the damper when you're not using the fireplace; otherwise, you're providing an escape route for your heat. Caulk around the fireplace to prevent any air leaks, as well. If you never use the fireplace, consider sealing the fireplace flue.
Other heating tips
Open your window treatments on south-facing windows during the day to allow the sun to heat your house. Just be sure to close the drapes at night so the heat won't escape. Also, set the water temperature on your hot water heater in the 115 to 120 range. Your water will still be hot, but you won't use as much power.
In addition, your heating system should be operating as efficiently as possible for maximum energy savings. An HVAC professional can perform a maintenance check.