As the weather gets colder, take a look at ways you can winter-proof your home – starting at the top and working your way down through your house. Draft proofing your home can reduce heat loss by 10%.
- Insulating your attic is a great way to get a high rate of return on your investment if you have an older home. In fact, it can be the most cost-efficient way to cut home heating costs. Older homes that were built before energy efficiency standards had little or no insulation. As a result, large amounts of heat can be lost through walls, floors and – since heat rises – ceilings. When heat escapes through the roof, it causes snow on the roof to melt and freeze over. If there is an accumulation of ice on the roof, it can create excessive weight and leaks.
- Another great way to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out. Check for leaks and drafts by holding a lit incense stick to areas that are commonly drafty, such as windows, doors and electrical wall plugs on exterior walls. Weather stripping on your exterior doors should be checked and replaced if cracked or if you can see the light around the edge of the door. Install door sweeps to close off the space under the bottom of the door. Consider replacing your windows if they leak badly or install storm windows. Apply caulking to window trim to protect against water leaks and drafts. Install pre-cut foam gaskets that fit electrical outlets and light switches to reduce air infiltration. Close the damper on your fireplace when it is not in use.
- Arrange for a yearly service of your furnace and hot water heater. Change your furnace filter regularly – a dirty furnace filter restricts air flow, reducing efficiency, which results in increased energy use.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans so that they turn clockwise. Although ceiling fans are generally associated with warm weather usage, a ceiling fan is in the reverse motion (winter mode) will push the warmer air trapped at the ceiling back down to the floor making your feet feel as warm as your neck. Without a ceiling fan pushing the warm trapped air from the ceiling, the ceiling area of a room can be 15 degrees warmer than on the floor.
- This is also a good time to clean your dryer vent. Clogged dryer vents area potential fire hazard.
Enjoy the winter in a draft proof home.