10 Things to get your home ready for Winter


1      Insulation. Make sure your attic insulation is deep, positioned correctly, and completely covering the heated areas of your home. Just like an extra blanket on your bed keeps you nice and toasty, a thick layer of insulation in the attic keeps your energy bills lower in the cold weather months.

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2      Duct sealing. Hot air leaking from ducts before the air get to the intended room is a huge problem. Get a duct blaster test to determine how much of your energy is leaking into the attic or crawl space in your home. Sealing your ducts with mastic is critical to a healthy and efficient air distribution system.

3      Replace 20+ year old HVAC system with high efficiency equipment. Modern equipment is quieter and more efficient than systems that are 10 years old. Running older equipment does not make financial sense. Check the Cooling efficiency (SEER) and heating efficiency (HSPF) prior to making the purchase.

4      Take shorter showers. The first person that takes a shower on a cold morning can reduce energy consumption (and make the second person happy) by taking shorter showers and saving the hot water. Insulate hot water pipes to increase the efficiency you are getting from your water distribution system.

5      Open the curtains on the south and west side of your home. Maximize the solar heat gain in winter days by opening the curtains, but be sure to close them before the sun goes down or you will lose all your gains. If you have a thermal mass to absorb this solar energy, it will pay dividends through the night.

6      Use LED holiday lights. Light emitting diodes are at least 75% more efficient and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lights. If you are going to light up your home to celebrate, do it the most efficient way possible.

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7      Use lighting controls. You can save additional money on your electric bill by using motion sensor and timer controls for your holiday decorations or even room lights. Home automation is as simple as a photocell on your power strip.

8      Use non-toxic de-icing substances.  Clean cat litter, sand, or fireplace / stove ash can be used to prevent hazardous waste from chemicals getting into ground water and / or killing your lawn. Chemical de-icers can be hazardous to your pets, trees, shrubs, and the environment. Anti-freeze that leaks from car engines and chemical snow melters on driveways, roads, and runways can pollute surface waters and groundwater through the soil.

9      Install doors, cover, or fireplace insert. Using your fireplace in the winter provides an aesthetically pleasing heat source. When it is not in use, you should make sure it is air tight; install air tight doors or a fireplace insert.

10   Install storm windows and doors. Installing a storm window and door can increase energy efficiency by 45% by sealing drafts and reducing air flow. Storm doors offer greater flexibility for letting light and ventilation enter your home when you want it. Storm windows can make a huge difference when the cold wind starts blowing.

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