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Check these Areas of Your Home before Winter Arrives

by Guest Post on Feb 3, 2011

Taking a few precautions to winterize your home before the cold temperatures roll in can boost your home’s energy efficiency for the winter and prevent unnecessary headaches in the frigid months to come. Here are some areas of your home you may want to check before the first winter frost:

Windows: Poorly sealed or thin windows allow cold outside air into your home, increasing the workload of your heating system and driving energy costs higher. Insufficient seals around windows can be repaired inexpensively with caulk and/or weather-stripping. Older windows are usually thinner than newer ones and provide little insulation against the outside air. Replacing windows is a more costly endeavor but can result in a major improvement in the energy efficiency of a home.

Doors: Like windows, all doors leading to the outside or unconditioned areas like the garage should be checked for drafts. Weatherstripping and door sweeps should be intact and in good condition. You may also block air from entering under the door by placing a draft guard along the floor for added protection. Draft guards simply block the opening where the door meets the floor, preventing outside air from coming inside. Having the right tools makes a difference.

Insulation: Home insulation helps keep cold air out and warm air in during the winter. Inadequate insulation allows cold air to enter the home, making it less comfortable, burdening the heating system and increasing energy costs. Some areas to examine for insufficient insulation are the attic, basement or crawlspace, garage, and outside-facing walls. If you are adding insulation, keep in mind that insulation is classified by its R-value, which refers to its propensity to resist heat conduction, and certain minimum R-values may be recommended depending on your geographic location.

Water Pipes: Frozen plumbing pipes can lead to flooding, inconvenience and repair expenses. In cold climates, water pipes in unheated areas of a home can be wrapped with pipe insulating material to help prevent freezing. In cold climates, outdoor faucets and pipes, as well as sprinkler systems, should also be checked and treated as needed to prepare for cold winter temperatures. Hoses should be removed and stored indoors, and water drained from the outdoor faucet with the water supply turned off.

Heating system: If your heating system needs to be checked, having it done before the winter arrives is a good idea. Replacing air filters and having the system inspected by a professional regularly will help you get optimal performance from your system.

It can be easy to put off winterizing your home, but preparing for the winter before the cold temperatures arrive can end up saving you a lot of money in the long-run.

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