Although the temps in October tend to go from warm to chilly in any given hour, those breezes should remind you that colder months are on the way. And if the weather predictions for winter 2014 are correct, Middle Tennessee is expected to experience colder than normal temperatures and higher averages of snowfall. The following are suggestions for protecting your home and keeping the cold outside.
This is a loaded one, because there are many areas of your home that could have been neglected when your home was built. Actually, Energy.Gov has this informational graphic that shows several areas of your home you can insulate that you probably never even thought of, but don't let that overwhelm you. Any additional insulation can be helpful!
Because heat rises, the attic is a prime place to lose your warmth if it is not properly insulated. You can purchase rolls of fiberglass insulation and position them around edges of the attic or in areas where the other insulation looks thin. Inspect the perimeter for cracks and then seal and patch. Also, if the duct work for your central heating is located in the attic, check for leaks and loose fittings. This one move could save you quite a few dollars on energy costs.
There are many reasons to focus on the basement during this process. For one, if any of your home's appliances are located in this area, cold air causes them to use more energy. Also, if the basement is cold, that means your floors above are cold, which means the heat has to work extra hard in your living space. Check exterior doors and windows for any air leaks and add weather stripping where needed. If you can afford it, replace drafty windows with double-paned upgrades. Use foam and tape around any exposed pipes to prevent freezing. Also, see the above note about central heat ductwork if it is located in your basement.
Furnace and Fireplaces
Proper maintenance on your heat sources could save you a lot of energy and money. Hire a professional to inspect and clean your furnace each fall before you turn on your heat. You will not only help your system work better, but you might also prevent hazards that could arise from running a neglected system. Also, changing out your filters on a regular basis will help everything run more efficiently. A professional is also best for inspecting your fireplace to make sure it is in optimal working order before you start burning fires. This will help protect you and your family from chimney fires and excess amounts of carbon monoxide.
Check the exterior of your home for cracks around your doors, windows, and crawl spaces. Use caulk and weather stripping where needed.
Close outdoor vents that lead into your home.
To prevent pipes from freezing, empty water hoses and spigots of excess water and insulate any exposed pipes outside your home, in the garage, and in crawl spaces with foam and tape.
Clean out your gutters! Clogged gutters could cause ice to back up and create damage to your roof.
Winterizing your home does not have to be difficult, but if any of these tasks are too big for you, hire a professional.
If you need help finding a cozy home this fall, give me a call and I will be happy to help!
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net