Maintain and Keep in the Heat

These days of frigid cold, it becomes more important and financially significant to do as much as you can to keep the heat in the house. Weatherproofing is the answer and there are many things the do-it-yourselfer can do. Some are easy, some require a little more effort. Most of our time is spent servicing our heating systems. That doesn’t help if the heat it produces leaves the house. We generally ignore the easy things like leaky doors and windows. And the attention you give to these things can reap a rich reward from a small investment.

Let’s start with doors and windows. Why? Because a significant energy loss occurs through leaks. I suggest you start outside. Pay attention to where different materials are joined. For example, look at where siding meets the window frames. Usually, there is caulking at these joints but caulking dries up and cracks after a while. One of the easiest things you can do is go around to all the windows – start with the ground floor first – and recaulk them. You need a ladder to access the whole window. Get a caulking gun. It doesn’t cost much to caulk and it doesn’t take much skill to do it. Any homeowner is capable. It’s one step more difficult and needs more safety consideration to the upper floor(s). First, you need a long ladder. Ask yourself if you are capable of climbing and working up high. Some people just don’t have the balance to do it. Some just don’t want to take the risk. In that case get help. If that doesn’t work for you, you can accomplish a significant amount upstairs by doing the caulking inside. Besides being safer, in the cold weather, it’s more pleasant. On a cold day, you can easily feel where the cold air is coming in and remedy the situation. I might also suggest that if your house doesn’t have storm windows, you consider installing them. Unless you have the time and are handy, I advise getting professionals to do it.

Leaky doors usually result from poor or missing weatherstripping on the top and bottom of the doors. Doors are opened and closed frequently so the weatherstripping gets worn down. This is another place where, on a cold day, you can actually feel the air coming in. If you don’t want the trouble of removing the doors, which you need to do. There are padded leak stoppers that can be placed against the door on the floor when they are closed. It can be annoying, but at least at night when the cold is the worst and the doors remain closed, it plugs up the leaks and can result in significant savings.

After plugging the leaks, if you want to do more, consider taking an insulation survey. I would begin in the attic where the most heat is lost. For the attic, particularly if it isn’t used as storage, I would bet fiberglass insulation. You just lay it on the floor of the attic. Fiberglass insulation is rated. Ask your supplier what R rating you need for your situation. Insulating the attic is well worth the trouble and expense.

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