The weather is still very agreeable, and we are all hoping for a great fall, but now is a great time to ensure our homes are ready for the colder weather.
So let's start from the top down.
Add a layer to your attic's insulation, especially if your home was built before 1980. Heat can escape through the ceiling, past the roof and into the atmosphere. And cold can get in.
Insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to help cut heating and cooling costs and make your home more comfortable. If you have less than 12 inches of insulation, you probably need more. Also add insulation to crawl spaces, under floors, against basement walls and the wall from your attached garage to your home.
Ventilation also plays a large role in providing moisture control and reducing summer cooling bills. Attic vents can be installed along the entire ceiling cavity to ensure proper airflow from the soffit to the attic, helping to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient.
One place that looks nice but can be a source of heat loss is recessed light fixtures. You need to be careful how close you place insulation next to a fixture unless it is marked "I.C.--" designed for direct insulation contact. Check with someone at the 'help desk' of a hardware store for recommendations.
In addition to insulation, there are other things you can do as well.
When it's cold outside, turn on the humidifier for additional moisture. This will increase the heat index inside your home making 18 degrees feel more like 22 degrees.
Place a portable unit in frequently used areas such as the bedroom or living room. The relative humidity in your home should be between 20 to 40 per cent -- but be careful not to allow humidifying so much as to create condensation on your windows.
Speaking of windows -- let the sun and its warmth shine in. Raise the blinds and open the shades on south- and west-facing windows.
If you have an older home, replace single-pane windows with double- or triple-paned windows with coating on the glass that reflects heat back into the room. If window replacements are too expensive, then put your storm windows on for the winter and install clear plastic film across the inside of your windows and frames.
If your windows are already double paned, then check around the edges on a windy day to see if you need to use some caulking, or weather-stripping. Plug the drafts throughout your home, inside and out, around windows, doors and where systems protrude through the skin of the home. If you have an air conditioner, seal the outside.
Have your furnace and ductwork evaluated before the start of each heating season for maintenance and cleaning. The cleaner and more efficient they are, the more you'll enjoy energy savings.
Source: Published Saturday September 12th, 2009 - Times & Transcript