Before winter arrives, use the autumn months to prepare for colder weather. When properly maintained and running efficiently, your home will keep you cozy. You’ll also save money and cut energy costs. Here are some smart ways to winterize your home this fall.
If pipes are warm when you touch them, this is an indication that heat is escaping into the surrounding air, increasing the cost of your energy bill. Reduce heat loss by insulating pipes with materials that have a high R-value (the measure of a material’s heat-blocking properties).
Insulate the Attic
The typical cause of ice damming is escaping warm air and not clogged gutters as is the popular misconception. Heat escaping from the attic can warm up the surface temperature of the roof, melting snow that can freeze again, forming a barrier that prevents melting snow from properly exiting the roof into the gutters.
Even when ice dams aren’t an issue, an attic that is not insulated or is inadequately insulted allows air to escape, increasing the amount of heat needed to keep your home warm and comfortable.
Seal Gaps and Seams
Use the appropriate type of caulk to stop air from sneaking through gaps in windows, door frames, vents, and flashings.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
If you have ceiling fans in the main living areas of your home to keep them cool in summer, use the fans to your advantage as the weather grows colder. When ceiling fans are reversed – the direction changed from counterclockwise (regular rotation) to clockwise – it pushes rising hot air back down toward the floor where it heats the room and not the ceiling.
Clean Gutters in the Fall
Ways to maintain your gutter system are: inspect gutter sections for damage, do minor repairs as needed, and clean gutters and downspouts in the fall. The last thing you want to deal with in the middle of winter is a flooded basement or damaged siding due to overflowing gutters.
Conifers close to the house act a protective screen, slowing down the impact of the wind and reducing the amount of cold that potentially enters your home.
Also consider creating a windbreak by planting a row of evergreens on the north and northwest sides of your property: it can cut costs as much as 30%. While it takes several years for the trees to grow tall enough to be an effective wind barrier, it’s worth it in the long term because you use less energy and reduce your household’s carbon footprint.