The time to protect your home from the cold is before the temperature plunges. The most protective measures are almost always preventive. A home winterized in advance will use less energy, be more comfortable and, most importantly, weather potential temperature extremes without damage. Here are some ideas to protect your home -- indoors and out -- from the cold while the thermometer’s still on your side.
Schedule an annual system check-up. Seasonal start-up is a good time to have a qualified HVAC technician onsite. He’ll check out vital systems to ensure safety, efficiency and performance. If you don’t know how to change the air filter, have the tech show you now so you can do it yourself as recommended by the technician.
Anywhere you can access exposed water supply lines, slip foam insulation sleeves over the pipe to prevent freezing and heat loss. Seal cracks or gaps in the exterior structure that allow cold air to contact plumbing. Disconnect and drain garden hoses. Be prepared to turn off water to outdoor faucets and drain residual water when acute cold threatens or have insulated faucet covers on hand to install. Another great option here is to install frost proof outdoor drains.
Because there’s still time to upgrade it, now’s a good time to measure attic insulation. Fiberglass batts should be at least 12 inches deep and loose-fill cellulose at least 10 inches. Anything less than that can be added to in order to bring the level to recommended standards. If you haven't had a home energy audit performed on your home yet, that is a great investment and education about how your home works and where it might need some help.
Windows and Doors
Feel around windows and doors for air leaks or use smoke from a stick of incense. Remove worn weatherstripping around door frames and replace with foam weatherstripping tape or more durable vinyl or rubber. Close the gap under the door with a new door sweep.
Despite the vast amounts of marketing dollars spent to tell you that replacing your windows can cut your energy bills in half, rarely does this investment pay off when balanced with the cost of replacement. In many instances, simply addressing the windows with weatherstripping tape and caulk along the seals of the window frames on the exterior of your home can deliver the same benefits as a new window and can be a great, low-cost, do-it-yourself project. Consult the expertise of a trained home energy auditor if you're unsure of exactly what to do. There also are many educational videos that can be found online to show you how to perform this task yourself with very little cost.
Roof and Gutters
If you can do so safely, inspect the roof for damaged or missing shingles. Make sure the gutters and downspouts are unobstructed and allow for the free flow of roof runoff and divert it away from the foundation.
For more tips to protect your home from the cold, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling.
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