The winter season is fast approaching for most of the nation. Cold temperatures are here to stay for the next several months. With cold temperatures come high heating costs. There are many simple preparations that you can do to winterize your home and make the most of your heat.
1. Attic Insulation
If you have access to your attic you’ll want to make sure that it is well insulated. Heat rises and one of the biggest escape routes is through your attic and roof. Attic insulation keeps the heat from escaping which in turn keeps your house warmer. To properly insulate your attic you will want to find out which insulation has the best resistance to energy flow or “r-value” for the part of the county that you live in. For example the northern part of the country has a higher “r-value” than the southern states. U.S. Department of Energy Recommended Total R-Values is a tool that can help aid you in this process.
2. Weather Strips for Doors and Windows
If there are any gaps between your doors and windows from their frames then warm air is leaving your house. These gaps are also letting drafty cold air in. To fix this you will want to find the type of weather stripping that will best suit your needs. If you have a metal door there are magnetic strips available for easy application. Vinyl stripping is another popular method as it is easy to measure and cut. Knowing what type of door you have and how big the gaps are can help in picking the correct type of stripping.
3. Plastic Window Insulation
If you notice a cold draft coming from your windows then it is time to look into plastic insulation. Your local hardware store will have a variety of plastic window insulation to choose from. Most of them are easy to work with and weather through the season. Using plastic insulation on your windows can reduce your heat loss in half! Insulation kits are sold by window size so before going to your local hardware store you’ll want to make sure you know the height and width of your windows.
4. Furnace Filters
For homes that have a forced air furnace this may be the easiest tip of them all. It is recommended that you change your furnace filters every month if they are dirty. Stocking up on filters when they go on sale is one of the best ways to make sure that you will have a filter on hand when it’s time to make the change. Not only will a clean filter improve the efficacy of your furnace but it will also improve the quality of air in your home.
These are some of the simplest steps my family has taken to not only keep us warm but also save us money on winter’s high heating cost. Knowing your home and what products are best suited to your needs is the first place to start. Make the adjustments, watch your energy bill fall, and most of all stay warm!