Fall is an ideal time to make home repairs that will make your home more energy-efficient, both saving you money and keeping you warmer. Even if you can’t afford major repairs, such as a new furnace or new windows, there are small things you can do to save big bucks on heating costs – and you can handle most of them yourself.
Caulk Around Windows
Though there are many places in the home where heat can escape and cold air can enter, windows are one of the biggest culprits. In older homes, especially, having weatherproof windows can make a marked difference in your energy costs and how comfortable your living areas feel. In some instances, you might only need a bit of caulk or weather-stripping to weatherproof windows, but if your windows are well past their prime, consider replacing them with energy-efficient double-pane windows to create a more efficient space.
Call an HVAC Professional
Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and invest in a heating repair service. They’ll make sure your furnace is running efficiently and safely. While the HVAC man is at your house inspecting your furnace, have him do the same to your heating ducts. Studies have shown that up to 60% of heated air escapes from ducts before making it to the vents. That’s a lot of money leaking out of your pocket. The HVAC guy can check for any leaks in your air duct system and then take steps to seal them.
Inspect Roof, Gutters, and Downspouts
If your local temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams. Check flashing to ensure water can’t enter your home. Consider replacing worn roof shingles or tiles. Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris. You may also want to install leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.
Change Your Thermostat
Have you switched out your thermostat to a programmable version? If not, add this one to your list. A programmable thermostat lets you customize your heating so the system doesn’t run when you don’t need it. You can program the thermostat for one temperature when you’re at home and another when you’re away.
Check Your Pipes!
Water supply pipes are especially susceptible to cold weather and freezing. Burst pipes from freezing can cause some of the most expensive repairs in the home. Water supply pipes are most susceptible to problems, but exposed drain pipes can also occasionally freeze. So it is important to systematically review the plumbing pipes in your home. Insulate exposed piping: If you have any exposed water pipes in uninsulated spaces, such as in a crawlspace, attic, exterior walls, etc., make sure to insulate them—at a minimum with foam insulating sleeves. Ideally, you should wrap them with electrical heating tape first, then insulate them.