Now that winter is just around the corner, following these simple tips can help make your home safer for the winter season, and more energy-efficient:
Check your home for leaks:
• If your windows are leaking in any areas, consider replacing them with energy efficient windows. If replacement is too expensive, install some window plastic for relief from wind and cold.
• Replace all the worn weather stripping and caulk.
• Consider replacing old doors if you can, or hire a contractor to perform a blower door test on your home to locate leaks. You can have inexpensive plastic, metal, or wooden draft stoppers that can be screwed or glued to the bottoms of your doors also if needed.
• Install foam gaskets to put behind the electric wall switch plates to prevent leaks. Remember to close the damper on your fireplace when you’re not using it.
• Close your crawlspace vents when it starts to get cold.
Heating and air conditioning systems:
• It’s more cost effective to maintain your heating and air conditioning system than it is to repair. Professional service should include cleaning, checking, and lubricating the system.
• Replace your heater's air filter on a monthly basis so it will work more efficiently. Make sure that that the thermostat and pilot lights work properly, then check all the ducts for leaks.
• If you have an older heating system, consider getting a modern one with an efficiency rating over 97%.
• Set your setback thermostat. A setback thermostat turns the heat or the a/c down when you are away or sleeping, then puts the temperature at a more comfortable level when you are home during the day.
• During the winter months, set your ceiling fans so they blow upward to circulate heat without chilling you with a breeze.
• Check all your insulation. In an older home, this is the most efficient way to reduce home heating costs. Make sure your home is insulated at all levels.
Check the exterior:
• Keep your gutters clean. Fallen leaves in rain gutters block water flow from rain and melting snow.
• If needed, trim trees and dead branches to prevent weather-related accidents
• Check your chimney. Install a screen to prevent falling leaves from blocking the chimney.
• Keep snow and ice from accumulating around your garage door.