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Preventative Home Maintenance to Keep the Cold Out

Lower Energy Bills with Caulk, Insulation, Double-Paned Windows, and Energy Star Doors

© 2013 by Michael David; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

Barbed wire with a snowflake; photo courtesy Michael David

Are you starting to feel that winter chill creep through your house? Does your thermostat say it is 65 degrees no matter how high you turn the heat? You may be in need of some home maintenance that will keep the cold out and the heat in.

The longer a house goes without proper maintenance, the draftier it will become. This winter, keep the chills away and lower your heating bill by taking care of a few basic preventative measures before they become problems.

Caulking to Seal Air Leaks

You may be surprised at the many nooks and crannies from which chilly air can to enter your home. Caulk around doorway trim, window trim, and even old floor moulding where air can sneak by unnoticed.

Even check around pipes and waterways to be sure no air is escaping. Not only will you keep the cold air out, but you will deter insects and spiders who creep in through the same passages.

Energy Efficient Windows and Window Treatments

Even after you’ve caulked around the edges of your windows, the window pane itself has little insulation and can be the cause of a majority of the heat loss in your home.

Purchasing double-paned windows is a great investment that will pay for itself over time as your heating bill decreases. If you’re not ready for something so drastic, you can purchase window blinds at any home improvement store that will decrease draftiness and prevent warm air from escaping your living room.

You can save an incredible amount of energy with efficient cellular blinds. The best ones consist of two overlaying layers of baffles that create an insulating space.

Insulation and Radiant Barrier Foil

Because heat rises, you’ll want to make sure your attic and chimney have plenty of insulation to keep the heat from rising out the roof. Make sure your chimney is closed, and, if possible, purchase chimney insulators for the long winter ahead.

Just be sure to remove insulation before starting a fire in your fireplace! Make sure your attic is lined with a good insulator so that the hot air will stay on the main levels of your house.

With respect to your ceiling, the absolute best way to keep the heat in (and the cool in in the summer) is to install the recommended amount of fiberglass insulation and then lay radiant barrier foil on top of it. This will keep up to 98% heat from escaping in that direction.

Get Your Furnace Ready for Winter

When you’re prepping for cold winter days, remember to take advantage of the resources you already have. Make sure your heat vents are uncovered so that air can flow freely through your home.

Because hot air rises, you’ll want to have a few ceiling fans installed, which will push the air flow back down to your room. During the winter remember that the blades should push the air up and in summer down. Most fans have a switch on the motor body.

If you have a swamp cooler or window unit that allows air to seep through the cracks, make sure it is turned off and prepped for the winter.

Clean or replace furnace filters often, and check for air duct leaks in your heater. Call a professional to ensure that your heater is ready to go for the long winter ahead.

Investing in a fully-functional heater will keep you warm this winter, and can even save you money on your heating bill.

Insulate the Electrical Outlets

Electrical outlets can also be an easy place for drafts to creep into your home. Purchase foam gaskets at a home improvement store, which you can use to stop air flow through your plug outlets.

Unscrew the outlet cover, secure a foam gasket, and replace the cover. The foam cover will surround the plug outlet, stopping unnecessary air from leaving or entering your home.

Entry Doors can be Energy Vampires

Many flat-surface contractor-grade doors are hollow if they are metal or wood and some stile-and-panel wood doors have thin panels. Save money on your utility bills by replacing them with Energy Star doors.

Another way to keep the cold air out is to make sure no air is coming through your doors. Check the weather stripping around the door and replace it if you feel air pressure from outside.

You can also purchase door sweeps, which attach to your door and close the gap between your door and the floor below it, which, in Toronto, can become very chilly.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to add to this topic? Why not share them with our readers in the comment section below?

About the Author:

Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement for companies like Centura Tile, and garden-related topics.

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