Winterizing Your Home
Now that winter's almost upon us, following these tips can help make your home safer and more energy-efficient:
1. Check for leaks:
Replace worn weather stripping and caulk.
If windows leak, consider replacing them with energy efficient models. If replacement is out of the question, install inexpensive window plastic for relief from wind and cold.
Inexpensive plastic, metal, or wooden draft stoppers can be screwed or glued to the bottoms of doors. Consider replacing old doors, or if you can afford it, hire a contractor to perform a blower door test on your home to locate air leaks.
Purchase and install foam gaskets behind the electric wall switch plates to prevent leaks. Close the damper on your fireplace when not in use. This also keeps small critters from flying or crawling around inside your chimney.
Close crawlspace vents during the summer and winter and leave open in spring and fall.
2. Check your heating and air conditioning systems:
Remember, it's more cost effective to maintain than it is to repair. Professional service should include cleaning, checking, and lubricating the system.
Replace your heater's air filter monthly so the system will work more efficiently. Ensure that the thermostat and pilot lights work properly, and check ducts for leaks.
Consider updating your heating system to a modern one with an efficiency rating over 97%.
Use your setback thermostat. A setback thermostat turns the heat or the a/c down when you are away or sleeping, then puts the temperature at a more comfortable level when you are home during the day.
In winter, set your ceiling fans so they blow upward to circulate heat without chilling you with a breeze.
3. Check insulation:
Insulate your attic. In an older home, this is the most efficient way to reduce home heating costs. Make sure your home is insulated at all levels-floor, wall, and ceiling.
4. Check outside:
Trim trees and dead branches to prevent weather-related winter accidents.
Clean your gutters. Fallen leaves in rain gutters block water flow from rain and melting snow.
Check the chimney. Install a screen to prevent falling leaves from blocking the chimney.
Keep snow and ice from accumulating around your garage door.