Colder temperatures, winter rain, and even snow are on their way to central Iowa – perhaps as early as this week. Are you ready for the onset of winter? Is your house ready?
There are a number of steps you should take to winterize your home if you hope to avoid cold spots, drafts, and outrageous heating bills over the next few months. Here are just a few tips most everyone can use:
- Clean the Gutters – Clogged gutters can lead to ice dams, which can cause water to seep into the house and damage the roof, walls, insulation, and anything else it pools around.
- Plug the Leaks – Find and plug leaks around window and door frames, electrical outlets, and recessed lighting using caulk, sealers, weather stripping, and gaskets.
- Insulate the Attic – Your attic should have at least 12 inches of insulation in it; 16 inches is even better. Hint: If you can see the top of the ceiling joists, you don’t have enough insulation. Add un-faced batt insulation or blown-in insulation to create a 12- to 16-inch deep blanket.
- Turn on the Furnace – If you haven’t fired up the furnace yet, do it now, before you absolutely need it. Open the windows if that “fall-furnace-start-up” smell bothers you. That odor is just dust burning off the heat exchanger and it shouldn’t last long. If it doesn’t subside after one or two cycles, call an HVAC professional and have the furnace checked out. In fact, having your furnace inspected before the temps drop is a good policy. Many heating and cooling companies offer seasonal specials for this very reason; take advantage of it.
- Sweep the Chimney and/or Woodburner – Fireplace chimneys should be inspected before use each year and then cleaned as necessary. Woodstoves, on the other hand, should be swept multiple times each year. The best time to do both of those jobs is in the spring – chimney sweeps get hectic in the fall. But that being said, don’t light that first cozy fire of the season until you’ve had your system checked out.
- Clean and Seal the Ducts – Dirty, leaky ducts will ruin the efficiency of your furnace by restricting the airflow and letting heated air escape where it isn’t needed. Look for duct cleaning specials this time of year and conduct your own visual inspection to uncover leaks that you can seal with duct tape.
- Lock the Windows – This is a good security measure, for one, but it has an efficiency bonus as well because it ensures that the windows are fully closed draws the panels together to seal the weatherstripping.
- Reverse the Ceiling Fan – During the winter months, ceiling fans should be set to turn clockwise so the blades will push warm air down into the room.
- Replace Old Windows – Single-pane, ill-fitting, inefficient windows are easily the biggest source of heat loss wherever they exist. Caulking, weatherstripping, and locking can only do so much. Replacement windows will make your house more comfortable and energy efficient faster than any other improvement you can make. In many cases, replacement windows pay for themselves with reduced utility bills and increased home value just a few years.
This season, to make replacement windows even more affordable and attractive to our central Iowa customers, Buresh Home Solutions is offering the “Beat the Freeze Manufacturer’s Rebate” from Sunrise Replacement Windows. This program offers homeowners a chance to get $500 back on the cost of their replacement window installation. Click here for complete details.