Hello Hello! It's that time of year, again. The cold months are right around the corner, and it's a good time to prepare. Unless you have a brand new home, and it's not even a gurantee with that, your home may have some issues that need addressed.
Have you ever wondered if your home is being utilized most efficiently? Our winters are cold and windy in Putnam County. Things you can do, yourself, to prepare for winter:
-Window: if you have older windows, they are less efficient. They may need caulked or re-caulked. If they have old cracking and brittle caulk, peal it off and apply new. This can help with drafts. Also, if you have older double hung style windows, the seal where the two sashes/sections meet may be broken or have leaks. If you cannot replace the seal, you can put some tape and a folded towel across the area where the two sashes/sections meet. It's not a perfect fix, but may help. You can also apply plastic to your window frame to cover the window. They sell kits for this in about every hardware or big box store. Not an attractive fix, but in times of need, it helps. The following suggestion is a little more drastic, but it may be exactly what you need. You can pop the trim off that surrounds your window. You can apply insulation or spray foam into this area if it is lacking. Make sure you use the foam that is designed specifically for windows and doors. It doesn't expand as much and won't bow the window/door. You can then reapply your window trim. During cold months, if there is a sunny day, open your curtains and allow the sunlight to penetrate and warm the room. Be sure to clothes the curtains during cloudy and windy days.
-Exterior Doors: If you have older doors, they can be costing you money, too. Check the weather stripping/seals that run along the edges of the door. Air/wind can sneak in this way. The weather strip/seals can be replaced quite affordably. I, personally, have a door that faces the West and is an exterior access point to my basement. It gets alot of wind. Since we don't use the door in the winter months, I apply tape over the door/frame gap. This stops the wind/air from sneaking in. Again, it's not a perfect fix, but it helps. Air can also sneak through the threshold area of a door. You can buy one of those draft blocker/stoppers that slide onto the bottom of your door. They allow your door to swing freely, but help cut down on drafts. I've also used a rolled up towel to help with this. Also, if you have an inefficient door, you can replace it with a newer used door from a Habitat ReStore. Check with the Lima and Findlay locations.
-Furnace: It is always a good idea to have your furnace serviced to be sure it is operating in its most efficient way. Change your air filter. Dirty/clogged filters cause your furnace to run more and less efficiently. There are many different shapes and sizes, so check your furnace for its needed filter. Also, make sure your furnace exhaust/intake pipe (it exits your house) is not blocked by landscaping or other things. The furnace needs to get rid of its exhaust to run best. Make sure that snow does not pile up around the exhaust/intake pipe. If it does, it can suck moisture back into the furnace and cause it to shut down or run less efficiently. Also, set your thermostat to a comfortable setting. If money is tight, set it a couple of degrees lower and cover up with a blanket. Every little bit of money savings helps!
-Heat/Thermostat control: As mentioned above set this at a temp that you can afford. One or two degrees warmer can cost you hundreds of dollars each Fall/Winter.
Rooms: If you have rooms you do not use. Close them off and don't keep them heated as warm as you do the rooms you use.
Foundation: If you have an older home, your foundation may have developed some cracks or gaps in it. Check for them and caulk them or apply expandable foam. Be sure to close crawlspace vents for cold months, but remember to open them back up in Spring. The vents allow air in during warm damp months and prevent mold and mildew build up. Closing them in cold months keeps drafts from getting into your crawlspace and possibly freezing your pipes. Sometimes thos vents get broken and don't work real well. You can replace them for about $20 or cover them with insulation for isulation board.
Outlets/switches: If you have an older home, I'm sure you've felt air blowing/seeping in through your electrical outlets. IT HAPPENS! You can buy the foam inserts that go behind the face plates. It stops the air drafts. Many times, there are programs that school aged kids qualify for and they can get them through their school/science teachers. If your home is missing the face plate covers, that is dangerous and they need replaced. These can be purchased for less than 50cents at any hardware store, or even cheaper at Lima and Findlay Habitat Restores.
Floors: If you have vinyl or hard flooring, they can be cool/cold in winter months. Utilize rugs for the areas where you will walk and sit. This will give you a warmer effect and keep you from turning up the thermostat.
These are just a few suggestions to help you with your cold months. I'm sure there are many more you can research.
IF YOU USE SPACE HEATERS IN YOUR HOME, PLEASE BE CAREFUL! THEY CAN BE DANGEROUS IF NOT USED PROPERLY. SEE THE OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS THAT ARE FOR YOUR HEATER.