Keeping Warm Over the Winter Months

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Installing new windows, a new roof, or energy efficient sidingwill protect a home from the elements as the winter weather rolls in.While these savvy home remodels are certain to keep you warm for years,there are some smart, inexpensive ideas, such as weather-stripping and upgrading insulation, that can keep you warm until this winter passes.

Insulation
The key to a warm house is good insulation. Good insulationis like a warm

Installing new windows, a new roof, or energy efficient sidingwill protect a home from the elements as the winter weather rolls in.While these savvy home remodels are certain to keep you warm for years,there are some smart, inexpensive ideas, such as weather-stripping and upgrading insulation, that can keep you warm until this winter passes.


Insulation

The key to a warm house is good insulation. Good insulationis like a warm winter coat, yet many homes have such poor insulationthat it is like wearing a ratty T-shirt all winter. 50-70% of a home'senergy bill goes toward heating and cooling, and if you have poorinsulation, that money is literally leaving through holes in the walls.


Here are some insulation options:

Blown insulation:a wise choice for the attic, this type of loose-fill insulation is veryenergy efficient and is actually blown into wall cavities and atticsusing special pneumatic equipment.

Blanket insulation: this form can come in rolls or batts, and is the prominent form of insulation most easily recognized by homeowners.

Reflective insulation systems:

these are made from aluminum foils, and their performance is most effective in hot climates rather than cool ones.


The important idea to note is your home's R-value. R-value variesbetween materials, but what is important to the homeowner is knowinghow much you need of specific material, in the climate you're in, andthe type of heating you use. Sounds like a lot, huh? Insulationprofessionals know all of these variables, and they can tell youexactly what your home needs.

Caulking

Because of the heating and cooling that happens to your home, the windowswill shift ever so slightly because their frames will expand andcontract. While the amount of actual movement is quite small, brickhomes can vary even more because bricks absorb the heat and cold, and,thus, really fluctuate a home's temperature.


As a result, the caulking and sealing agents around thewindows will pull away, harden, and fall off, leaving small openingsinto which cold air can creep. By having a professional out every yearto recaulk the windows,you can be sure that you are not allowing costly energy to escape yourhome. Even if caulked last year or the year before, this is an annualthing that needs to be done-like cleaning out gutters-to ensure yourhome is running efficiently.

Weather-stripping

Muchof a home's heat will escape through the seals around windows anddoors, and these areas cannot be protected by insulation.Weather-stripping is a great complement to adding insulation.


Weather-stripping is typically made of dense foam that comes in varyingthicknesses to be able to fill the spaces of different-sized seals.These strips are applied so that there is an air-tight seal when thedoors and windows are closed. Weather-stripping will help in twodirections as it will also keep the air conditioning from escaping inthe summer.


Installing weather-stripping is not a long process, unless it is required on many doors and windows. A Handyman or insulation contractor can complete this task in no time, which can quickly turn into energy savings.


Door Sweeps

For those who are unaware, door sweeps areattached to the bottoms of doors that lead out of a home to keep coldair from seeping under the door. Because of the friction and foottraffic, it is impossible to weather-strip the bottom of a door, so adoor sweep acts as a small curtain blocking the free flow of air. Whileyou have a professional out to caulk and weather-strip, have him install a door sweep on all entry/exit doors.

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