Winter-proof Your Home for Energy Efficiency
Do your energy bills shoot up when winter hits? Do you feel cold air sneaking in around your home’s doors and windows?
Get your Metro East Illinois home ready for cold weather with these smart winter-proofing tasks.
The Usual Suspects: Doors and Windows
They are the most susceptible spots in your house—any compromise in the integrity of your doors and windows can send cold air in while letting heated air out. Perform these easy checks before the first big chill arrives:
- Check the weather stripping around window frames and door frames for failure. If the weather stripping is old, worn down, or has bare spots, replace it.
- Check for drafts around windows and doors. If you see or feel leaks, get out the caulk and fill them up—on the interior and exterior of your home.
- Check your window’s frames. Old wooden frames may be failing due to rot or years of wear and tear. If you find any frame leaks, have them fixed or replace them if necessary. The cost of the replacement will likely be worth it for the added warmth and energy savings it brings.
If you can afford it, replacing your older doors and windows with new, energy-efficient models is a smart investment. Today’s energy-efficient doors and windows are stronger and better made than those originally installed on homes built 20 or more years ago. They can help create a tighter envelope around your home that keeps the heat in and the cold out.
Prepping and Optimizing Your HVAC System for Winter
Making sure your Hamel-area home’s HVAC system is working at its highest capacity can help make your winter much more comfortable. Use this list to get all the elements of your home’s HVAC in working order.
- If you have a fireplace, check it for soot build-up and drafts. If the fireplace is particularly drafty, considering having an insert installed. A fireplace insert is basically a firebox with a steel casing around it. The steel casing keeps heat inside the room by preventing it from escaping up into the chimney. Alternatively, you might consider getting a chimney balloon—a “stopper” that closes the flue with a tight seal.
- Consider replacing your standard thermostat with a programmable model—it will help you regulate the heat in your home and can lower your energy bills.
- Check for exposed ducts around your home and seal them if necessary. You can hire a professional to do this if you don’t feel comfortable with it or aren’t familiar with ductwork issues.
- Get a furnace inspection and tune-up. This is probably the most effective way to ensure your heater is running efficiently and effectively before winter weather hits. A precision furnace tune-up from Ernst Heating & Cooling includes a full inspection, thorough cleaning and lubrication, and an adjustment to make sure the furnace’s gas input is at the correct level. If we find that any repairs need to be made, you will be able to have them done before the cold comes on—and before they cause your furnace to break down!
There are many ways you can optimize your existing HVAC system—and many new furnaces on the market that are far more efficient and effective than those installed 15-20 years ago. Call Ernst at 618.633.2244 if you have questions or concerns about your Metro East home’s current furnace or furnace replacement.
Bonus Winter-proofing Tip: Unclog Your Gutters!
If your gutters are full of debris or leaves, they could fill with water that turns to ice and could cause your gutters to crack and even detach from your home. And make sure your downspouts are pointing away from your foundation—if too much water clogs around the bottom of your home and then freezes, it could cause damage to the foundation.
Stay Warm and Safe this Winter
In addition to the tips mentioned above, be sure to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors before you start using your heater and/or fireplace for the season, and replace their batteries if necessary.
To learn more about winter-proofing your home and your HVAC system, contact Ernst Heating & Cooling.
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