How to winterize your home

by | February 12, 2007 12:00 am

By MARY WHITE

By MARY WHITE

Right about now, you are probably spending some time complaining about the cold and the cost of keeping your home warm. Don’t worry, it won’t be too long before summer comes and you’ll be too hot!

The most important thing you can do right now is to make sure your heating system is operating safely and efficiently. It’s not too late to hire a professional to inspect your heating system. Heating repair and installation services are offered by someone like a plumber Gilbert AZ. Then, take time to look around your house and get it ready for the winter months.

Did you know you can reduce the heat losses in your home by up to 30 percent just by sealing air leaks? This can translate into significant savings on your heating bill this winter. A quick inexpensive way to find out how many air leaks exist in your home is to do the Incense Test. The test is easy and inexpensive, but should only be done by an adult.

On a windy day, light an incense stick and hold it upright near the closed windows and doors in your home. If the smoke travels horizontally or parallel with the floor an air leak exists.

Another way to check for cracks and leaks is to turn the lights off and look to see if you can detect light around your windows or doors. Once you find the leaky culprit, seal it with caulk or weatherstripping that can be purchased from a local hardware store. When selecting a caulk, a latexbased caulk is a good choice since you can paint over it. If the gaps around windows and door frames are large, you could try a spray-foam product. There are cheap fixes that can save lots of money.

When checking for air leaks in your home, don’t forget the attic access door and attic fan louvers. Remember heat rises so if large gaps exist, you can lose a significant amount of heated air. Insulate any attic access and add weather-stripping to reduce heat losses.

Another source of heat loss is the window air conditioning unit. The best thing to do is remove the unit from the window during the cold months. If this isn’t possible, cover it during the months it is not in use.

Do you use your fireplace during the winter? If so, check to make sure the damper closes tightly. Excessive air leaks around the damper can increase your heating bills by up to ten percent. Reduce air leaks by installing a fireplace draft stopper. If you use firewood, be sure to store it at least 30 feet away from your home. You don’t want invite termites into your home.

Taking a little time to inspect your home will save you money in the long-run.

Adding caulk and weather-stripping are two of the easiest and least costly ways to reduce your heating bills this winter. These small changes will pay for themselves in the first year.

Did you replace the batteries in your smoke detectors last October when the time changed? If not, do it today. It won’t save money, but it may save your life Check your fire extinguisher to make certain it is fully charged.

If you need more information on managing your money, call the Emanuel County Extension office at 237-1226.

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