This is a guest post by Jim.
Every year when the seasons change we unpack our old winter clothing, the sweaters and coats we so happily put in storage the year before when the weather finally turned and got sunny. For some it can be a little dismal, though an occasional surprise like a favorite boot you forgot about can make it more pleasant. But our wardrobes are not the only things that need to be updated for the coming cold weather months. Many car owners know to get their snow chains out, while other people just take out their big, heavy blankets. Whatever your winter preparation rituals are, you need to make sure that winterizing your home becomes part of your routine. Winterizing your house will not only help lower energy costs, thereby doing good for the environment, it will also save you money. Take a few of the below steps and watch as your energy bills drop!
Make sure all of your home’s windows and doors are closed tightly. It is a good idea to take a walk through your home from top to bottom and make sure that all of the windows that may have been left open are now closed. You should also make sure that they are locked, as this adds usually a bit more of a seal. This will not only keep the cold air out, it will also keep your heated air in. This alone will save you significant amounts of money and takes almost no time. Don’t forget to keep your garage door closed too!!
Insulate your hot water heater. While new water heaters are made with insulation, many old homes have older models that were sold without it. If your water heater is not insulated, then you are using too much energy to keep your water hot. Go to your local hardware store to get a blanket or jacket for your water heater. Installing your new winter wear will save you as much as 10% on the costs of heating your home’s water.
Take care of your outdoor space and furniture. Some people let the winter damage their outdoor property, but there is no reason to do that. Save yourself the time and money of repairing or replacing your stuff by protecting it. Once you have cleaned all of your patio or deck furniture, cover it up with specifically made covers. Covers for tables, chair, and chaises are all fairly widely available. Do the same with your grill.
Fill in the cracks. Just like hot air can escape through an open window, it can also escape through small cracks and spaces in your home. You can find these spaces by walking through a room, with all doors and windows closed and air systems turned off, with a stick of lit incense. When you see a draft picking up the smoke, you can track down the source of it. Caulk these spaces yourself or hire a professional to come in and do it for you.
Put in some insulation. Installing insulation can be a little costly upfront, but you will make the money back in lower energy bills fairly quickly. Every home should have at a minimum a foot of insulation in the attic- even those homes in warm or mild climates. Tip: if you’re installing new insulation, look for the kind without paper backing, which can cause problems with moisture.
Check your ducts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, American homes with central heating lose up to 60% of their hot air through badly connected or non-insulated ducts. What is the state of your ducts? They should also be vacuumed every couple of years to keep dust from constantly circulating through your house.
About the Author
Jim Klossner is home repair professional specializing in plumbing and HVAC services. Check out John J Cahill, Inc. for more information.
Thank you to Jim for helping us keep this blog alive. We couldn’t do it without people like you.