Be More Energy Efficient – Winterize Your Home

Even homes with adequate insulation material and water pipe heat tape can be further fortified for winter months. Regardless if winter is already well under way, it still isn’t too late to winterize your home. The following steps can save you time, money, and help you avoid inconvenient cold-weather emergencies.

  • Check insulation: be sure your attic, basement, and exterior walls are properly insulated and up to code. Depending upon insulation product used, replace or add to batt insulation (also known as blanket insulation) or other insulation material. If you have blown in insulation, a building contractor can determine whether or not more is required.
  • Check for cold air entry ports: give your house the once-over; look for areas where cold air can seep in, and inside heat escape – adding to fuel costs. Check external wall electrical outlets, switch-plates, and gaps around windows and doors. Foam insulation made for outlet and switch placement is inexpensive, a breeze to install, and effective. Door weather stripping and window weather stripping made from metal, vinyl, sponge, felt, or foam can also help considerably. Caulk draft areas where weather stripping is not appropriate.
  • Check furnace: this may not fit under the winterize your home category, but replacing the furnace filter every 4 to 6 weeks will help your furnace run more efficiently and cut down on heating costs. If you suspect your furnace isn’t running at top performance, have a heating repair contractor inspect it.

A programmable digital thermostat is another fuel bill cost cutter. They are not difficult to install and are more temperature precise than older types of thermostats. They can be programmed to automatically lower temperature at night when everyone is asleep, and during times when the house uninhabited.

Of course, prior to winter months make sure your gutters and downspouts are free from debris. And outside hoses should be disconnected and stored away; insulate outdoor faucets.

More Pre-Winter Ways to Cut Down on Fuel Costs

Aside from adequate home insulation, the use of either foam insulation pipe or electric heat tape, and the suggestions listed above to winterize your home, consider the following:

  • Install an overhang above the entry way into your home to reduce ice build up on steps and make them safer.
  • A double efficient energy pane window can help cut heating and cooling costs year round. An insulated window treatment, such as an insulated window shade or insulated window curtain, will also prove effective.
  • Have chimneys, fireplaces, and woodstoves cleaned before winter sets in to avoid problems caused by accumulated soot and other debris.
  • Acquire the services of a roof repair contractor to check loose gutters, damaged shingles, or other repair needs.

One other tip – avoid applying rock salt or calcium chloride to your roof to melt ice and snow. Use of either can damage shingles, and possibly void the shingle manufacturer’s warranty.

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