After a long summer, these cooling fall days in the greater St. Louis metro area are a perfect time to take on a few DIY projects designed to improve home energy efficiency. Once the cold winds start blowing, you’ll be in position to settle in for the winter and enjoy savings from lower utility costs. Here are some easy things you can do on an autumn weekend to get ready for the cold weather and boost home energy efficiency:
- Change your furnace filter. It’s been gathering dust since last spring. A clean furnace filter improves air quality and ensures proper airflow, a major factor in system efficiency. Change it on a monthly basis during the heating season.
- Seal air leaks. Look for spots in the home where heat may leak out during the winter. Gaps around doors and window sashes are the major suspect. Use foam weatherproofing tape to close them. Also look for openings in the exterior structure around plumbing pipe penetrations and where the exterior wall meets the foundation and seal these with caulking. Use spray foam to seal larger openings.
- Clear the gutters. Ice dams that form at clogged or sluggish gutters can cause major roof and attic damage. Remove any obstacles and flush out accumulations of leaves.
- Check your attic insulation. Attics can be major heat thieves because hot air rises and conducts through the ceiling. In the St. Louis climate zone, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends a minimum of 12 inches of fiberglass or 10 inches of cellulose in the attic. New insulation can be installed on top of existing to upgrade to this standard.
- Drain the water heater. Sediment accumulation in the bottom of the heater raises energy costs. Shut down the heater and turn off the cold water intake valve. Connect a garden hose to the drain tap on the bottom of the tank and drain the tank water outside. After draining, open the cold water valve and fill the tank before re-lighting the heater.
Since 1951, Ernst Heating & Cooling has kept homeowners in Metro-East area comfortable year-round. Ask us about more ideas to improve home energy efficiency for the winter.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about home energy efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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