Fall is a great time to get your home ready for the colder winter weather. Here are some tips that won’t take you a lot of time, but should prove to save you a lot of money and prevent your home from having a disaster during the colder winter months.
Don’t allow the cold winter draft to eat away at your monthly energy bills. You can save 10 to 15 percent on your energy bills by simply weather stripping your windows and doors. Leaks can cause a 50-75 percent increase in heating bills. A draft leak test can to be done around your home’s window and door frames. 30 percent of a home’s heat escapes through small cracks and holes around windows and under doors.
A great way to test if your windows have leak problems is to hold a lit candle close to the window seams. If the flame bends, you have a draft. Check the caulk on the outside of the window frame. The heat of the summer can dry out the caulk. Therefore, you may need to re-caulk. Also, for just a few dollars, you can pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware store.
V Strip: You can get V-strip, also known as tension seal, at your local hardware store. The V-strip get’s it’s name from the shape it forms when pressed against the corner of a window or door. To install, first measure the door or window that you want to seal. Make sure to clean the area you’ll be applying the V-strip to. Cut the seal to the desired length. Peel away the the adhesive backing and press it on to the corner of the door or window.
Tubular Seals: Tubular seals are available in rubber, vinyl, or silicone. It is applied at the base of doors and windows, the top or bottom of a window sash, the bottom of a door, or between a door and it’s jamb. To apply the seal, peel and stick. Or, fasten with screws through the slot holes. Silicone seals are pressed into a channel you create with a router.
Felt: It is plain or reinforced with a flexible metal strip. Cut the felt to the desired length. Then, fit the felt into the door jamb allowing it to press against it. You can use the reinforced felt as a seal around doors and windows stapling it or nailing it in place.
Adhesive-Backed Foam Tape: Foam tape is another way to seal up inside door frames or the top and bottom of windows sashes. This is installed in the same way as the V-strip. The material is made from rubber, foam or sponge rubber. It comes in various widths and thickness.
Door Sweep: Putting a sweep on your door will help tremendously. Place it on the bottom of the interior door between the door and the threshold. Most sweeps will fasten with screws.
If you live in an area where the temperature drops drastically, winterizing your pipes is a must. A bursting pipe can cause a lot of damage to the home and it can be expensive to fix. It’s always a good idea to call a licensed contractor to inspect your pipes to make sure they are ready for the colder winter.
Pipe Insulation: For all the unheated areas, wrap the pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. To make sure you purchase the correct size of tube, measure the outside diameter of your pipes. Stores like Home Depot sell pipe insulation.
Heat Tape/Heat Cable/Heat Cord: Sometimes insulation will not cut it and you’ll need more to keep your pipes from freezing. This is where heat tape, heat cables or heat cords comes in handy. There are different power densities and temperatures heating devices come in. It’s important to talk to an experienced contractor or plumber about which device will be best for your plumbing needs.
You can take preventative action during the cold weather to save your pipes from freezing and bursting.
Next week, we’ll post additional tips for your fall inspection check list such as, cleaning your furnace, inspecting the fireplace, inspecting the roof and cutters, and testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.