Protecting your home from winter weather can increase the value, reduce monthly heating costs and prevent costly water damage.
Consider these tips.
- Limit the air exchange between the interior and exterior of your home and maximize heating and hot water systems to increase cold weather efficiency. Heat loss through the roof and exterior walls is responsible for the majority of heating costs. Because heated air rises, a properly insulated attic is the single most effective way to limit heat loss.
- Air movement around the perimeter of windows and exterior doors also accounts for significant heat loss. Use weather stripping around door and window openings and caulk and/or block air movement through cracks and openings in exterior walls. Home improvement stores market a variety of energy saving devices to improve the insulating characteristics of a home. Some include insulating spray foams and precut/preformed insulation for various-sized openings.
- Purchase energy efficient models when a water heater, furnace or other high-use appliance needs to be replaced. Also purchase energy efficient models when replacing windows and exterior doors.
- Wrap water heaters and hot water pipes in insulation to improve efficiency. This is especially important in locations where hot water components are exposed to cold temperatures.
- Have the furnace inspected by a licensed heating professional prior to cold weather use. Heating ducts and furnace equipment can be cleaned to improve air flow efficiency.
- Refill the storage tank if propane or other fuel is used for home heating.
- Reinstall storm doors or windows if they were removed during warm weather.
- Check the dampers on wood burning fireplaces to make sure they close snugly. If fireplaces are used, the chimney should be clean and free of obstructions.
- Install a programmable thermostat to regulate the furnace operation for improved heating efficiency. Zone heating strategies may also be used so that room temperatures vary depending on the frequency of use.
- If plumbing fixtures have had cold weather problems in the past, protect them from freezing temperatures with heat tape or other means.
- In preparation for winter, remove leaves and debris from exterior walkways, decks and steps where snow will need to be removed.
- Trim tree limbs that are close to or touch the roof or house. Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned and downspouts directed away from the house.
- When final lawn care projects are complete, lawn mowers and other power equipment should be stored for winter. Shut down and drain the water from irrigation systems and evaporative coolers.
- Place lawn furniture, water hoses and other outdoor items in storage. Snow removal equipment, including snow blower, fuel, snow shovels and chemical ice melt, should be placed in a readily accessible location.
- Check and replace emergency supplies such as fire extinguishers, batteries, candles, flashlights and propane lanterns or heaters.
By: Richard Beard - Oct. 20, 2006