Many people stay indoors during the winter months in order to escape the cold, snowy, and icy weather. But if your home isn’t properly weatherized, you may find it difficult to stay warm until spring.
Weatherizing is the process of making a home more resistant to cold weather. Not only will weatherizing make your home more comfortable, but it will also save energy and lower your monthly utility bills. Here’s how to weatherize your home for winter this year:
Seal Air Leaks Around Doors and Windows
In the winter, warm air can escape through the tiny cracks and holes around your doors and windows. The more air that escapes, the more energy your heater will need to consume to keep you warm.
Even worse, cold air from the outside can sneak into your home through these holes and cracks. In fact, this could be why you feel cold drafts of air in different rooms in your home.
To seal these air leaks, start by replacing worn down door sweeps. You should also apply weather stripping around doors and operable windows.
If a window is inoperable, use caulk instead of weatherstripping. Apply a fresh layer of caulk around the entire perimeter of inoperable windows to ensure you seal all the holes and cracks.
You should also install window film over any windows that seem to be allowing cold air inside your home. A window film is a clear, inexpensive plastic that is sold at most home improvement stores. You can apply the film to your window in a matter of minutes using a hairdryer. Once it’s in place, it can increase the efficiency of your windows by up to 90%.
Insulate the Attic
Adding insulation to your attic is one of the most effective ways to weatherize your home. Investing in attic insulation will prevent warm air from the rest of your home from escaping through the roof. In other words, insulating your attic will trap warm air inside your home so your heater won’t need to consume as much energy to keep you comfortable.
Before you purchase any materials, check the thickness of the existing insulation in your attic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most attics need between 10 to 14 inches of insulation to properly withstand cold temperatures. If your attic is not adequately insulated, it’s best to add loose fill or batt insulation.
Put the finishing touches on this project by installing an insulated cover over the attic hatchway or stairway.
Replace Air Filters
Dirty air filters restrict air flow, which means your heater will need to work even harder to pump warm air throughout your home during the winter. To increase your heater’s efficiency, replace air filters as needed throughout the winter.
The frequency at which your air filters should be changed will depend on various factors, including the size of your home and air quality in your area. But in general, it’s best to check your air filters every 90 days. If the filter is dirty, replace it as soon as possible.
Insulate Hot Water Pipes
Insulating your hot water pipes is important for several reasons. First, the insulation will protect the pipes from damage caused by freezing temperatures.
Adding insulation to hot water pipes also reduces heat loss, which will lower your monthly utility bills.
Insulation also keeps the water warmer, so you won’t have to wait as long for the water to heat up before a shower or bath. Since the insulation keeps the water warmer, you can lower the temperature on your water heater to save even more energy and money.
You won’t need to hire a professional to insulate your pipes. Simply measure your hot water pipes and purchase pipe sleeves from a local home improvement store. Then, place the pipe sleeves on your hot water pipes. Secure the insulated pipe sleeves in place with duct tape or cable ties.
Seal the Fireplace
The damper acts as a lid by sealing off the chimney when the fireplace isn’t being used. Leaving the damper open when the fireplace isn’t being used is just like leaving a window in your home open.
To keep cold weather out of your home, make sure the damper is closed whenever the fireplace is not in use. Check to ensure the damper closes properly. If it’s not tightly closed, hire a professional to fix this issue.
The cold weather may already be here, but it’s never too late to start weatherizing your home. Follow these tips to stay warm and comfortable, lower your utility bills, and reduce your home’s energy consumption all winter long.