Tips to weatherize your home for winter
Is your home ready for winter’s chill? It’s important to weatherize now. Not only will your home feel more comfortable, but you’ll save energy and money, too.
Simple, low-cost tips:
- Seal it up: If you can see light coming through the seal of your doors, then you need to add weather stripping to close the cracks. This is simple and cheap to do – usually less than $20 a door. Walk by windows and doors with a lit stick of incense. Drafts will pull the smoke that direction, showing you the drafts.
- Apply film to windows: Window installation kits found at hardware stores cost less than $10. Apply the film to your windows with a hair dryer.
- Install a programmable thermostat: Setting a programmable thermostat at 65 degrees for eight hours a day -- for example, while you’re at work -- can save 10 percent on your energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Check your air filters on your heating unit each month: A clogged filter restricts airflow, forcing the unit to work harder.
- Insulate your pipes: Insulate vulnerable pipes to avoid damage from freezing temperatures. Insulate pipes located outside and on areas where you have plumbing on the exterior walls.
Hiring a professional for weatherization:
- Replace your HVAC unit: If your furnace has been cranking out the heat for more than 10 years, you might want to consider investing in a new, more efficient heating system. In the long run, high efficiency models will reduce bills and cut down those initial costs for a new system.
- Adding more insulation: If you can see 2-by-4s in the attic, you need more insulation. The coldest climates may need up to 19 inches of insulation; warmer climates can get by with 15 inches. Check there, ceilings, exterior and basement walls, floors and crawl spaces.
- Replace or restore your windows: If your windows are older and drafty, it’s a great time to either find a window specialist to restore them or buy new, energy efficient models.
- Federal tax credits available: Now through the end of 2010, homeowners who add qualifying products such as HVAC units, insulation and windows to their homes can receive a tax credit of up to 30 percent the cost of materials with a maximum credit of $1,500. Check products carefully because not all qualify.