Completing projects to winterize your home can pay off in a number of ways. Not only will you also be able to keep warm in the winter but you can also increase our comfort level during the cooling season. According to ENERGY STAR a homeowner with sufficient do-it-yourself skills or a contractor can make low-cost improvements to seal and insulate the home.
You save money by reducing heating and cooling costs by 20 percent. Here are five tips to winterize your home.
1) Insulate building components
You can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient during the winter (and cooling season) by adding insulation in the basement and crawl spaces, attic and the outer walls. You can choose from a variety of insulation products, including cellulose, fiberglass and rigid foam board.
Insulating you attic can provide you the best return for the money spent. Most attics require 12- to 15-inches of insulation for greater efficiency. Check the recommended R-value in your region of the country for insulating walls ceiling and other building components.
2) Seal leaks with caulk and weather stripping
Windows and, doors and are the more obvious source of air leaks in your home. Perform a visual inspection on the exterior, especially where two different building materials meet. This includes exterior corners, the foundation and the bottom of siding or brick, outdoor water faucets and exterior corners.
On the interior, look for gaps and cracks around baseboards, switch plates, electrical outlets, door and windows frames and baseboards. Other sources of leak include:
- Vents and fans
- Attic hatches
- Window and wall-mounted air conditioners
- Television and cable lines
- Mail slots
Also look for gaps around pipes and wires, foundation seals, and mail slots. Check to see if the caulking and weather stripping are applied properly, leaving no gaps or cracks, and are in good condition. Check the exterior caulking around doors and windows, and see whether exterior storm doors and primary doors seal tightly.
Use caulk when you need a flexible seal with a diameter less than ¼-inch, such as doors and window frames, electrical fixtures and plates and window and door frames. Expandable spray foam can be used for wider openings.
3) Service the furnace
Make an appointment for a professional heating technician to service your furnace —cleaning and tune-up, to ensure it works properly. Avoid waiting until the temperature drop. Not only will you have to compete with other homeowners and commercial establishments for an appointment, but you’ll probably pay more.
You should also replace the furnace filter at the recommended interval– usually every three months. A dirty filter makes the furnace work harder, wastes energy and increases your energy costs.
4) Check your ducts
If you have a ductwork system, check for holes or gaps that may allow air to leak from the system. The efficiency of some systems can be improved as much as 20 percent by properly sealing leaky ducts with duct sealant (duct mastic) and wrapping them with insulation.
5) Protect water pipes
Turn off the shut-off valves to outdoor faucets and allow them to drain. You may want to consider installing insulated faucet covers or replacing them with freeze-proof faucets. You can also safeguard pipes that run through attics, garages, exterior walls, crawl spaces and other locations where they can potentially freeze with pipe insulation.