Your vigilance in buttoning up the house for winter will save you time, money, and headaches.
- TIP: Look into government incentives that cover 30 percent of the cost of energy improvements to the home, with no cap.
- Step 1: Caulk and replace weatherstripping on doors and windows, after replacing screens in the fall. Check and repair face boards, flashing, and edges on the roof.
- Step 2: Clean gutters and realign downspouts to carry melt water at least 10 feet away from the house's foundation, where it'll be least likely to cause flooding or damage. Now you're sure to stay cozy over those long winter months.
- FACT: Department of Energy research suggests homes can lose as much as 60 percent of heated air from poorly insulated or connected duct work.
- Step 3: Release excess water pooled in air conditioning units, drain all hoses, and shut off exterior spigots. Install, replace, or repair foam insulation sleeves on plumbing pipes, using a high R-value that measures heat-blocking capacity.
- Step 4: Reverse ceiling fans, running them clockwise to circulate warmer air pooled at the ceiling back into the full room.
- Step 5: Upgrade to an efficient furnace if a professional inspection calls for it. In all events, clean ducts, change furnace filters monthly, and seal heat ducts.
- Step 6: Check insulation that may have started to sag from rafters and wall cavities, which may allow cold air to seep in.
- TIP: Lower a conventional water heater to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit to keep heating costs low.
- Step 7: Test any smoke or carbon monoxide devices, and recharge fire extinguishers to make sure they work when winterizing. Hire a chimney sweep to clean out soot. Buy firewood and stack for the season in a dry place.