By Mitch Kuffa
WINTER! Let’s talk about how to keep your house properly winterized. Here is a LOW COST to NO COST checklist that everyone can afford.
Make sure all doors close tightly, lock and have some type of weather stripping around all four edges. If needed, there are some very inexpensive, easy to use, self-adhesive foam type products available at your hardware store that you can just stick around the perimeter (which should last for several seasons).
Make sure that all your windows and door walls close tightly (even if you have to install a wood stick to hold them in place to keep the cold out). Do not forget to seal up the basement windows.
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Make sure all vents are tightly closed.
Any existing insulation should be evenly spread and pulled back from the roof overhangs. Stored items should be stacked and/or organized so as not to compress or disturb the insulation.
If nothing else, make sure your furnace has a clean filter and use your registers. Close off or less the airflow to minimally used rooms and open the registers where needed.
If you have a computerized thermostat PROGRAM IT. Let it turn the heat down at night and mid-day. Does it make any sense to heat your entire house when everyone is sleeping or not at home?
Change to fluorescent bulbs where possible (especially now since it is darker longer). When I first did this in my home I laughed. My payback came on a day when my wife was sitting at the kitchen table staring at the electric bill and said: “I think you may have been right, our bill is noticeably lower.” Also, don’t forget about dimmer switches (can only be used on standard bulbs) or easy to install “timers” which can turn electrical things on/off automatically and are especially good for security.
Once the last of the leaves have fallen, it is important to try to clean out your gutters one last time before ice/snow accumulate. This will minimize ice damming and help discharge melting water away from your house.
Caulk/foam any small cracks from the holes or openings that you can find walking around your house. This is especially important at foundations, doors, and windows, etc. It not only keeps cold air out but also pests that are trying to find a warm environment for the winter. Check where the a/c lines, electric cable, hose faucets, etc. penetrate.
Insulate the perimeter bond (the area at the very top of the foundation wall where the wooden floor joists sit). Many times there are small holes in this area that allow cold air to pour in. This job can be typically done with less than 1 roll of insulation.
Play with the sun! Make sure your shades and drapes can close or seal windows on overcast and windy days and are WIDE OPENED when the sun is directly hitting your house. You will be surprised how the sun’s rays can heat up the interior.
Invest in a couple of small space heaters. I have found that the small “ceramic” heaters are inexpensive, efficient and allow you to pin-point rooms that you want warmer without having to heat the entire house.
Make sure that dampers are closed not in use. Chimneys will suck the heat out of your house if left open. Also, make sure that any “clean-out” doors, at the base of the chimney in the basement, are also closed.
Learn to be like our forefathers. Dress warmer inside the house. Learn to utilize layers of clothing (like construction workers or soldiers). You will find using layers of blankets is more efficient in holding body heat.
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