So does a long hot summer mean a long cold winter? Well The Farmer’s Almanac can advise you on that, but what we can tell you is that you need to get ready for winter regardless. Before the cold weather gets here, take the time now to be green and get your home all buttoned up so it’s ready for that visit from Old Man Winter. Here we are going to provide you 4 tips to do just that:
TIP One – Get That Energy Audit
You probably get offers for this from your power company all the time, usually its free. Perhaps you haven’t taken advantage of it though? To get your home at the max to be green, you need to know where the problem areas are first and that is just what an energy audit will do for you.
What if your power company doesn’t offer a free energy audit? Do it yourself! It isn’t hard to identify problem areas and get them remedied. Purchase an infrared thermometer and you can measure the surface temperatures throughout your house that will help you pinpoint the areas that you need to insulate.
TIP Two: Seal Up The Walls
The mantra to be green in the construction industry is: “seal it tight and ventilate right”. To get a grip on any area that is drafty, sealing it up is important. Any place where the cold air can penetrate through the walls and windows needs to be caulked up. A tube of caulk is inexpensive and can save you a lot of money over time.
A pretty big area of cold air will draft in a place you may not even think to insulate – the electrical outlets on the outside walls. Just hold your hand over one, especially on a windy day from the north. Be green and purchase insulation pads that are made just for this and they are easy to install. Then use a clear caulk to go around the edges of window seals and get that foam rubber replaced around the door and window jams.
TIP Three: Seal Your Home’s Can Lights
Another culprit that is notorious for contributing to cold air leaks are those recessed lights in your ceiling. Most of the old style can lights came vented so they wouldn’t overheat, but with hot air rising, the unsealed canned recessed light is letting out warmth in the winter. Be green and get these lights winterized by simply removing the ring seal up the perimeter with either aluminum tape or caulk.
Do not use incandescent bulbs in your recessed lights. Be green and go with LED bulbs that are energy efficient as well as dimmable. And get up in the attic to insulate around the light fixtures up there by installing a box over each one, then insulate the box and seal it on the outside.
TIP Four: Close Up Those Gaps
At any point that you have anything penetrating an exterior wall, there is possibility of cold air coming in and warm air leaking out. With a can of expanding foam go around to air vents, outside faucets and any plumbing to fill in gaps where that possible cold air can come in and the warm air escape. Be careful not to insulate around the gas flue though – that is a possible risk of fire there. Be green but be safe and smart!
Now be green and check your home’s foundation and make sure any gaps where daylight is showing through gets covered up. Expanding foam is great for big holes and there is a fire block expanding foam version to use between floors and to seal electrical boxes.