Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Top Ten Ways to Winterize Your Home

10. Check & Wrap Your Pipes: Make certain that the water to your hose bibs are shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained. Then, the pipes you may be worried about, you can wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores.

9. Reverse Your Fans: By reversing its direction from the summer operation, the fan will push warm air downward and force it to recirculate, keeping you more comfortable.

8. Check the Chimney: Make sure the chimney is cleaned and free from debris, the place a protective cap for your chimney, with a screen to keep out foreign objects. If you have a fireplace you should keep your chimney's damper closed when the fireplace isn't in use to keep out the cold air.

7. Check Your Windows: By taking out screens & putting up storm windows, this give you an extra layer of protection. If you do not have storm windows, a good idea would be to buy plastic sheeting that's affixed to a window’s interior with double-stick tape. A hair dryer is then used to shrink-wrap the sheeting onto the window. (It can be removed in the spring.) It is inexpensive (about $4 a window) and it's extremely effective.

6. Check Your Ducts: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. Check to see if there are gaps or clogs that may stop the flow of heat. You can repair gaps with a metal backed tape. It's also a good idea to vacuume out ducts once every few years, to clean out the abundant dust, animal hair and other gunk that can gather in them and cause respiratory problems.

5. Check The Furnace: It's a good idea to have furnaces cleaned and tuned annually. Throughout the winter you should change the furnace filters regularly (check them monthly). A dirty filter impedes air flow, reduces efficiency and could even cause a fire in an extreme case. Toss out the dirty fiberglass filters; reusable electrostatic or electronic filters can be washed.

4. Insulation: By adding insulation to the existing insulation in the attic, you will save money on your energy bill & keep the warmth in your home. You will need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic.

3. Clean Out Your Gutters: In order for winter's rain and melting snow to drain properly, clean gutters out removing any debris. Clogged drains can form ice dams, in which water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house.

2. Stop The Drafts: One of the best ways to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out. Purchase door sweeps to close spaces under exterior doors, and caulk or apply tacky rope caulk to those drafty spots. Outlet gaskets can easily be installed in electrical outlets that share a home's outer walls, where cold air often enters. For outside, seal leaks with weather-resistant caulk. For brick areas, use masonry sealer, which will better stand up to freezing and thawing.

1. Check your Batteries: Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Some cities require a smoke detector in every room. Buy extra batteries and change them when daylight savings ends. Another tip would be to install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater.

Stay warm and stay safe. For more energy efficient ideas you can visit