Don’t delay any of your home winterization projects. Preparation is always preferable to reacting after the fact, particularly if the first cold snap catches you unprepared. As winter sets in, operating costs will rapidly increase, while indoor comfort levels will decline, especially in homes that haven’t been optimized for low temperatures.
While some of what’s required may call for the services of a qualified HVAC contractor, many home winterization projects are straightforward and within the DIY skills of the average homeowner.
Seal Air Leaks
Use caulk to close up any structural cracks or gaps that are 1/4-inch or less wide. This includes the long joint between the baseboard and floor, cracks along vertical wall joints and narrow openings in the ceiling that permit air exchange with the attic. Also, make sure to caulk along the exterior joint between the wall and the foundation. For wider openings around plumbing penetrations or where vent pipes enter the attic, use expandable spray foam in a can.
You should also renew any worn weatherstripping around movable surfaces of doors and windows. Remember to install a door sweep to close the gap under exterior doors.
Check Your Insulation
If your home is more than 10 years old, your attic insulation may not meet current Department of Energy standards. Existing residential attic installation is usually fiberglass batts or cellulose loose fill. Here in Fresno, the DOE recommends a minimum of 9 inches of fiberglass or 7 inches of cellulose. Installation can be upgraded by adding new layers to the existing layer.
Replace the Furnace Air Filter
Change your furnace air filter now and every month for the duration of the winter. You can buy filters in multi-packs for better savings.
Update Your Heating System
If you’re hanging onto a 1990s-era furnace, you may be wasting money in excess energy costs. While a furnace from the early 90s delivered 65 percent efficiency, today’s furnaces offer standard efficiencies of at least 80 percent, while high-efficiency models top 90 percent. You can discuss upgrade options with your HVAC contractor.
For professional help with all of your home winterization projects, contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about winerization and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “alice-photo/Shutterstock”