With winter just around the corner, now is the time to give your home a check-up to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. DRO Enterprise’s Bill Smith shares his tips on what to look for and take care of toget your home ready for the season of BRRRRRRR. (Don’t forget to sign up for Earth Aid’s utility rewards program! Get rewarded for saving money and energy.)
1. Have your home tested for air leaks. Air infiltration (aka leaks & drafts) is the most common energy and comfort problem. Common leaks are easily identified and can often be sealed by the homeowner with caulk, spray foam, gaskets and backer rod. Look at your outlets, baseboards, switchplates and along the kick panel of your cabinets. Trim around windows and doors can be caulked – be sure to check along the top of the trim above the doors and windows. Window sashes can be tightened up oftentimes with “V” weather-stripping. For a more thorough sealing, consider getting a blower door test or energy inspection.
2. Close any crawlspace vents. If your home or any part of it are over a crawlspace, make sure the vents are closed for the winter. They should only be open for spring and fall. Recent research finds that leaving them open in the summer actually brings in more unwanted moisture! Many building scientists are now recommending drying out crawlspaces, covering the exposed soil with a sealed plastic vapor barrier, and sealing and insulating the crawlspace walls permanently.
3. Check your attic insulation and ventilation. The attic plane is where the largest amount of heat is lost during the heating season. Typically, if your home has difficulty heating or cooling all the rooms evenly then your attic insulation is probably not performing properly. You may need more insulation, it may be installed incorrectly or it may need a supplemental heatshield.
4. Have your heating system cleaned and tuned by a qualified contractor. Have the system checked for carbon monoxide and install a CO alarm. Install a programmable thermostat and adjust your thermostat to a cooler temperature when away or when sleeping.
5. Check your gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clean and properly secured. Clogged gutters can lead to ice formations which can cause significant damage.
6. Check your perimeter screening and close up any wall openings/cracks. Critters may want to take up residence during the cold season.