Easy ways to winterize your home
When summer draws to a close and autumn arrives, homeowners must place a precedent on readying their homes for the winter months. Often referred to as "winterizing," the process is meant to ensure a home can withstand harsh winter weather while proving a safe haven from the elements.
As autumn arrives, homeowners can take several steps to get their homes ready for whatever winter has to offer with the following tasks.
* Fix the leaks. A leaky home will prove an expensive home during the winter months. A home with many leaks will be much colder to inhabit, and homeowners typically turn up the heat to counter drafts that can make a home feel like a meat locker. But turning up the thermostat isn't the answer. Instead, fix leaks in the fall before the cold weather arrives. Leaks should not be very hard to find. On the first breezy autumn afternoon, walk around the house in search of any drafty areas. These drafts will be noticeable and often occur around doors and window frames, electrical outlets and even recessed lighting.
Homeowners have a host of options at their disposal to plug leaks, be it door sweeps that block air from entering under exterior doors to caulk applied around leaky windows. When using caulk outdoors, be sure to use a weather-resistant caulk or, if sealing brick, use masonry sealer.
* Add insulation upstairs. Homeowners who have an attic in their homes might want to consider adding some insulation up there. Experts recommend a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in the attic. That might prove costly, but a poorly insulated attic is akin to opening the front door and letting the heat out. It might be best for less-than-handy homeowners to hire a professional to insulate the attic. But do-it-yourselfers might find it good to know that if the ceiling joists, which are often 11 inches or less, are visible, then the attic is in need of additional insulation. Such joists won't be visible in an adequately insulated attic.
* Put up the storm windows. It's nice to open the windows in the spring and summer and let the warm air waft in through the screens. But when summer is over, it's time to put up the storm windows once again. Storm windows add an extra layer of protection from the elements and are especially valuable in homes with single-pane glass windows.
Homeowners who don't have storm windows should consider upgrading their existing windows. Such a project isn't cheap, but newer windows will almost certainly lead to lower heating costs, meaning the project will essentially pay for itself over time. Homeowners who can't afford to replace all of their windows don't have to replace them all at once.