The winter months can be very hard on your home. Unfortunately, they can also be hard on your wallet if your home isn't prepared for the onslaught of winter weather. Are you and your family warm and toasty during the winter months or do you find you are searching for ghost-like cold spots and cursing the mailman for bringing you higher energy bills?
Don't stress. Late summer and early autumn is the perfect time for winterizing your home. Below are a few tips from Galaxie Home Remodeling that will help you in preparing your home for the cold winter months ahead.
Check Doors and Windows
Cold winter air can seep through doors and windows. Storm windows provide a good barrier, but installing double pane windows is preferred. Energy-efficient thermal vinyl windows not only increase your energy savings, but keeps precious heat inside your house. If your budget prevents you from installing energy-efficient thermal vinyl windows, then look into less expensive alternatives such as clear plastic insulator kits. These popular DIY kits are easy to install and easier on the pocketbook. At least until you can replace the windows.
Check entry doors for a tight seal. Doors should fit nice and snug so cold winter air doesn't sneak in. Checking for leaks is as simple as holding a lit candle near door and window fittings. The flickering flame is a tell-tale sign that cold winter air will creep in. Steel insulated doors are best to keep old man winter at bay, but for a quick fix, try blocking small leaks with caulk or spray foam insulation.
The insulation in your attic should be a minimum of R-38. Unfaced fiberglass insulation can be added on top of your current insulation. Make sure there is no paper backing on it, as this will help keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Not to mention lowering your energy bill.
An insulation blanket around and on top of your hot water heater, will also add to energy savings. If you have a recirculating pump, consider installing a timer so that your warm water is in the faucet right away, rather than running the water waiting for it to get hot. You can also set the timer to work during the hours you are normally using the most water. This will prevent the water from recirculating during your off peak hours and waste energy.
It is also helpful to visually inspect your furnace duct work, then wrap it with insulation. Duct work residing in colder places such as the basement or attic result in cooler heating temperatures. Insulation will help maintain those ambient air temperatures as the air travels through the ducts.
Don't forget to replace the filters on your furnace once a month and have it inspected by a professional before the winter season starts. Regular service of your furnace leads to optimal performance. Keep the furnace clear of clutter and debris and lubricate the motor as needed.
A programmable thermostat can significantly reduce your energy bill during the cold winter months. These devices will lower the heating temperature during the hours that you're at work, then move to a slightly higher temperature before you get home. After all, if no one is home why have the house nice and toasty? Recent studies indicate you can save up to $200 on your energy bill in just one winter by installing a programmable thermostat. In our opinion, this is a must for every home.
Thinking ahead about winterizing your home before the cold winter winds blow, not only makes good sense, but can lead to much needed savings in your energy budget.