It’s Time to Weatherize Your Home for the Winter – Do You Know What to Do?
By Rita Cook
No matter how well insulated you think your home might be there are probably still a few cracks that you haven’t discovered. Did you know that those cracks and gaps mean money out of your pocket? So, as the weather begins to turn cold there is still time left to weatherize your home for the colder months yet to come.
Real Estate Professional Pam Daniels with Ebby Halliday Realtors, who has earned her EcoBroker certification and the GREEN sustainable property designation, says “Energy efficient features from weatherization to solar thermal hot water heaters provide energy savings that buyers are becoming increasingly interested in today. After a record hot summer with some of the highest electrical bills ever seen, energy efficiency is on the minds of today’s buyers.”
Daniels offers these tips to help you get weatherization needs in order before the cold weather sets in this year.
• Seal the air leaks. Air infiltrates into and out of your home through every hole and crack. About one-third of this air infiltrates through openings in your ceilings, walls, and floors. Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Also add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows and check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets that can leak air into or out of your home. Finally install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
• Check the insulation levels in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces. Daniel’s says “You need insulation in your home to provide resistance to heat flow. The more heat flow resistance your insulation provides, the lower your heating and cooling costs. Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. In the winter, this heat flow moves directly from all heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, basements, and even to the outdoors. Heat flow can also move indirectly through interior ceilings, walls, and floors—wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the cooling season, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior of a house. Insulation’s resistance to heat flow is measured or rated in terms of its thermal resistance or R-value.
• When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. A chimney is designed specifically for smoke to escape, so until you close it, warm air escapes—24 hours a day.
• Make sure your appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly maintained. Check your owner's manuals for the recommended maintenance.
• Insulate hot water heaters if in unconditioned spaces with an insulation wrap. Also consider insulating the home's attic access. This could be an attic hatch, pull-down stairs, or a knee-wall door that often go un-insulated. This gap in the attic insulation increases heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
Daniels says that some of the biggest mistakes people make are to make energy efficient measures in the wrong order. “Many people consider installing new windows or heating/air conditioned units before other less costly measures are taken such as the energy efficient tips above,” she concludes. “Buying a new efficient air conditioning unit before the air leaks are sealed in the home, is like buying an energy efficient refrigerator and leaving the door open. The home needs to be weatherized first so the air conditioned unit will not have to work so hard and waste energy.”
Pam C Daniel is a member of the Board of Advisors of Green Source DFW. She is with Ebby Halliday REALTORS, and has earned her EcoBroker certification and the GREEN sustainable property designation. You can reach her at email@example.com or (972)283-7549
Article first purblished by GreenSourceDFW in November 2011
Rita Cook is an award winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Cook is the Managing Editor of Insider Magazine, worked at the Chicago Sun Times for renowned columnist Irv Kupcinet and can also be heard Sunday morning in Los Angeles on The Insider Magazine Radio Show’s featured segment “I’m Standing Here.” With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org