Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winterizing isn’t usually the thing you think of when you’re contemplating interior remodeling, but an extensive renovation project will impact almost every area of your home that you need to consider when winterizing.

Install New Furnace: If your furnace is old, you could save as much as 50% on your heating bills by replacing it with a new one. If you install an Energy Star certified furnace, you can save 15-20% in energy costs compared to a standard model.

Furnace Inspection: Even if you’re not getting a new unit, you should have your existing HVAC equipment tuned up annually to make sure it’s working at peak efficiency. This can also save you the trouble of a waking up one morning and discovering your heat is broken. You may also want to have the ducts cleaned and install a permanent filter that doesn’t need frequent replacement. HEPA-rated filters will also help keep allergens out of the air in your house.
Insulate: While insulation isn’t very exciting, it can do a lot to keep your home warm. It’s easy to install insulation in the attic or in the basement. If you’re doing interior remodeling that involves opening up walls, consider adding insulation to your outside walls. You can also caulk if you find cracks around windows or in the home’s foundations.

Water: You want to turn off outside water sources, but drain the pipes first, so you don’t have to worry about water freezing and bursting inside. Don’t forget to drain the hoses connected to your air conditioner and remove AC window units so they don’t let it drafts.

Pipes and Ducts: Make sure to insulate your pipes and check your ducts for air leaks – particularly the ducts and pipes that run through unheated portions of the house. As much as 60% of heated air is lost through leaks in ducts. You can also wrap your hot water heater in a blanket of insulation to reduce the cost of heating the water.

Windows and Doors: Putting a storm door in place can reduce your heat loss by 45%. Adding weather stripping can reduce drafts, and you can position draft stoppers near doors you use infrequently. Don’t forget to install the storm windows either; it can make a big difference in your energy bill. If you don’t have storm windows or want additional insulation, you can cover the windows in plastic or bubble wrap.

Roof and Gutters: Now is a good time to check the roof for loose shingles or holes – and to make sure the flashing around the chimney is secure. Gutters and downspouts should be clean and free of debris so you don’t have to worry about ice dams.
Reverse Ceiling Fans: Many people don’t know that their ceiling fans can be reversed in direction. During the winter, a clockwise rotation will help push warm air downwards and make the room feel warmer.

Chimneys: You don’t have to clean out your chimney every year, but it should be inspected annually before you start building fires. If you don’t have a chimney cap with a screen over every chimney, get one to keep out animals or objects that might block the chimney.

Author: Joaquin Erazo, Jr.

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