Your Home Is Cold. Here’s How To Fix That.

Jan 24, 2019

Credit Robzor/ Pixabay

You’re cold and you want to fix that.  But there are a whole lot of options and a pretty big price tag with each of those options.

The phrase “energy efficiency” might have you thinking solar panels and electric cars, but the most effective energy efficiency measures are surprisingly low tech. Of course, each home has its own story - and its own expenses - but there are a number of weatherization and rebate programs available to Granite Staters to prepare your home for winter.

Let's get warmed up, listen to our Exchange show on Home Heating for the New Hampshire Winter and see what resources below work for you.

I'm cold in my home...

Grab a scarf and start reading. Some of these resources will work best for homeowners but renters we’ve got you covered. We've also collected solutions that work best for low-income homeowners. 

See where you stand: Gather your latest utility bills and determine your home’s needs with this NHSaves calculator. Homes that score an eight or higher are eligible for an energy audit and weatherization program through NHSaves. Based on a further evaluation, you could be eligible for up to a $4,000 rebate. Here’s a step-by-step guide to walk you through it.

YIKES! Can’t afford that... If that price tag goes beyond your budget, breathe. Then take a look at these financing options collected by Vital Communities including local bank loans for energy efficient home upgrades. For reference, Ted Stiles, an energy auditor with Yankee Thermal Energy and guest on our show, gives a ballpark of $2,500 to $15,000 for weatherization upgrade estimates.

Don’t qualify but still cold? If you don’t quality for NH Saves, check out Vital Communities’ calculator to understand your home’s energy usage by square foot. There may be small measures you can take to further improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Still not sure about it? Attend a weatherizing event to understand the process better. Vital Communities is holding an event in Kearsarge on Saturday, Jan 26th —don’t worry, there’s a snow data. NHSaves has a Button Up Workshop on Thursday, February 7th at 6pm. Check out the NHSaves events page for information on that and future events.

Do-It-Yourself Warmth can’t wait! But before you get to work, check out these guides on how to get the most bang for your buck. Don’t blame your windows for everything, energy auditor Ted Stiles, often finds leaks near recessed lighting and piping.

Footnote: NH Saves is a program that you probably already pay for! Take a look at your recent utility bill; the “systems benefits charge” goes to fund the program. Hear more about how the funding works in this show: Home Heating for the New Hampshire Winter

I'm a renter...

Ok, so maybe you can’t head up to the attic with a pack of insulation —even if you’re cold enough to— but there’s still plenty you can do.

Talk to your landlord: The NHSaves programs applies to homes as well as apartment buildings. If your landlord pays for heat, the benefits are obvious for both of you. If you pay for heat, it’s still worth a shot. Ultimately, any weatherizing upgrades will make the apartment more attractive to all tenants...including the ones after you. 

Take matters into your own hands: Refer to the DIY solutions above for basic air sealing and insulation. Some fixes like plastic on the windows and door sweeps won’t leave a trace. And try asking your landlord if they’ll reimburse you for the cost of small fixes like caulk. For more, Efficiency Vermont thought up all the renter-friendly solutions for weatherizing. 

Get creative: Energy auditor Ted Stiles suggests attaching a storm window --available at a hardware store-- inside your single pane windows. Double pane windows you can take with you!  

Have hope: Sarah Brock of Vital Communities works with all kinds of homeowners, including landlords, in the Upper Valley to improve energy efficiency. She’s been surprised by how many small-scale landlords approached her to improve their buildings’ energy efficiency

I'm on a tight budget...

A warm home doesn’t have to be a luxury item. Try out NHSaves and give your energy auditor a budget: they can select the most affordable and highest priority fixes. A few other programs cater specifically to low-income households.

Weatherization that fits your budget: Cover Home Repair employs local contractors and volunteers to meet your home’s needs. They price services on a sliding scale for families that qualify. For those who don’t, check out The Cover Store for affordable weatherizing materials.

Check out state programs: The New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives offers a number of assistance program. Waiting periods for these programs can be long. But get started by checking your eligibility and contacting your Community Action Agency.

For more on how New Hampshire stays warm, listen to our show on Home Heating for the New Hampshire Winter.