Weatherize to Save on Heating Bills by David Uffington

By on October 6, 2011

By now you’ve likely felt a bit of colder weather. Taking a few simple steps to weatherize your home could save you significant money as winter settles in.

Looking for air leaks should be a priority. Window frames may need caulking and doors could use weather stripping, especially if you can rattle them or see daylight. Don’t wait until it’s too cold to apply caulking on the exterior.

Check electrical outlets and switch plates on outer walls and seal with insulation pads. Look for leaks around fireplace dampers and attic hatches. Check baseboards with your hand or bare feet. An incense stick can be used to check for drafts.

Consider plastic insulating sheets for the interior of windows. The packages come with the sheets and double-sided adhesive tape. Once installed (use a hair dryer to shrink the plastic taut), these generally can’t be seen. Read the package to make sure you buy the clear kind.

Check the attic for previous leaks, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain.

Outside the house, look for negative flow spots in your yard where water can pool around the foundation. Check gutters and downspouts to be sure water will be diverted away from the house. Look for holes in siding and cracks in brickwork, especially where two different materials meet. Check any opening for cable and phone lines.

If your home is a bit older, a professional energy assessment might be in order. Special equipment will be used to determine the level of air leakage, and you’ll be given a list of suggestions for making your home more airtight over the winter months.

Decide whether this is the year to replace your furnace. Shop for an Energy Star model for the most savings in your energy dollars. See www.energystar.gov for qualifying products.

Go online to www.pueblo.gsa.gov, and put “Weatherize Your Home” in the search box for more information on insulating your home.

At www.energysavers.gov you can find Consumer Information Fact Sheets for information on heating and cooling, insulation and air sealing, and more. You’ll also find information on do-it-yourself energy assessments. If you qualify, you can get some weatherizing help. Click on Apply for Weatherization Assistance in Your State for the contact information.

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