Friday, October 28, 2011

DIY: How To Winterize House

The Abominable Ice House!                          

At this time in the year, it’s a good idea to start thinking about preparing your home for winter.  Even though we’ve had a brush of winter this week with 30 degree temperatures and a forecast of snow in the future, it’s still going to be fall for a few more weeks.  Take advantage of the weather and perform some routine maintenance on your home that will ensure comfort for the coming months.  Read A&E’s 10 tips for winterizing your house

1. Have your furnace tuned and cleaned.  You should replace furnace filters about every 2 months. Dirty filters can increase energy use and restrict airflow so replacing filters will help you save on heating costs.  Be sure to keep extra filters on hand for the winter months.

2. Drain garden hoses and shut off water to outside faucets in order to protect your pipes. Don’t forget to insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls.  This will help you avoid frozen pipes that can burst.  

3. Poor fitting windows can have air infiltration through drafts coming in and heated air escaping.  Caulk and weather-strip around the windows and doors to reduce energy loss.

4. Consider replacing any windows that have broken panes or sashes that don’t shut properly and install storm windows if you own them.  We recommend Andersen low-E windows.  These low-emittance (low-E) glass windows block a significant amount of radiant heat transfer which ultimately reduces the total heat flow through the window.

5. For proper drainage of snow and rain, it is important to clean out your gutters now and install gutter guards so that melting snow and ice will flow freely.  This will help prevent ice damming, which occurs when water freezes and seeps into the home, causing damage to ceilings and walls.  

As we mentioned in our previous basement flooding post, make sure downspouts are carrying water away from the house’s foundation to avoid flooding.

6. Trim trees and remove dead branches that hang close to the house.  Ice, snow and severe wind can weaken trees and break branches off, potentially damaging the exterior of your home and your car.

7. Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms and check the age of these devices.  We recommend replacing batteries or even the entire unit if it’s older than 5 years.  Install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor in your home.

Pennington Fireplace
8. Clean out your fireplace and cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep animals out.  Inspect the damper to see if it’s in good working condition for proper opening and closing.

9. Install door sweeps on the inside of exterior doors as well as on the interior doors to an unfinished basement or attic.

10. Before adding more insulation to your home, get a professional home energy assessment from a BPI certified home performance contractor.  

A&E Construction performs comprehensive home energy audits and provides homeowners with a detailed report and an energy savings analysis so that you’ll know all the facts before you consider home energy improvements. Remember, the NJ Home Performance with Energy Star Fall Promotion is still available for homeowners interested in making energy improvements.  

This means you have until December 31st of this year to get savings of up to $15,000 on your improvements.  If you've been thinking about upgrading HVAC equipment or insulating an attic, this is the best time to act for getting discounts and rebates on your investment.

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