What is a better option during the cold winter months than cozying up in a warm home while secure in the knowledge that you’ve maximized your energy efficiency for the season? Many home builders today, including Vancouver Real Estate, are specializing in crafting airtight, energy-efficient homes. By 2020, new homes must be carbon neutral and utilize 50% less energy than homes did in 2007.
If your home lacks the benefits of having been built by an energy-efficient home builder, there are still improvements you can make to stay comfortable and save money during the winter season. Keep reading for five ways to prepare your home for cold temperatures.
Check Your Home’s Heating And Air Conditioning System
Most heating and air-systems typically last 12 to 15 years. The lifespan of these units is widely dependent on how well they are maintained. Before temperatures drop, filters must be replaced, and the systems undergo an inspection by a reputable HVAC contractor. Additionally, you should consider an annual maintenance agreement. While an HVAC problem is never desirable, it is better to discover a broken furnace during the fall versus on a frigid winter day.
Install Weather Stripping
The doors and windows in your home can allow air leaks even when they are closed. Weatherstripping is used to seal cracks, allowing you to winterize your home and keep out cold air. It is available in the form of foam, metal, felt, vinyl, and more.
From inside your home, inspect your home’s exterior doors for cold air leaks by using an infrared thermometer. Alternatively, you can hold a lit candle near the door or window frame; if the flame drifts toward you, there is an air leak. Once you have identified all the air leaks around your home, consult your local home improvement store for the correct weatherstripping products and installation.
Protect Your Pipes
Broken pipes can cause massive damage, but taking some simple steps to winterize them can help to avoid a potentially catastrophic claim.
As water expands as it freezes, water left in pipes during cold temperatures can cause them to crack and burst. By maintaining a dripping faucet, water will be able to move freely and continuously, preventing it from freezing. You can also add some antifreeze to drains to prevent water from freezing and cracking in the drain traps.
You can also protect pipes with insulation sleeves, wrapping, or using slip-on foam pipe insulation. This is especially ideal for old copper or steel pipes, as plastic pipes are more tolerant of freezing temperatures. Crawl spaces should also be insulated appropriately; Using cardboard or wood, block any vents that lead outside.
Clean Out Your Water Heater Tank
A buildup of sediment and calcium can coat the interior sides of your water heater tank, thus reducing its efficiency as it produces less hot water. Before the wintertime, you want to ensure that your water heater is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Hot water tanks should be drained annually to clear buildup and extend the system’s lifespan.
To drain the tank, turn off the water and gas or power supply. Connect a hose to the drain valve and allow the opposite end to flow to a floor drain. Open the drain valve and temperature-pressure regulator valve and let the tank drain. Once empty, flush the tank with more cold water to flush out the remaining sediment.
Clean And Inspect Your Chimney
Wood-burning fireplaces are a great way to help keep your home cozy and comfortable without using natural gas or electric heating, thus minimizing your utility bills. However, having your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected before the winter season is a must to avoid damage that can be both costly or dangerous. By detecting problems early, you can prevent fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, or structural deterioration.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends- “Open masonry fireplaces be swept at 1/8″ of buildup. If there is any glaze present in the system.” However, it should be done sooner. If you aren’t sure whether your chimney is due for a cleaning, ask a certified professional for help. It is better to be safe than sorry.
The cost of heating one’s home is typically a considerable expense in most parts of the country. With a little preparation, however, your home will be ready for your family and friends to gather warmly and safely and make memories during the holidays. By maximizing your energy efficiency for the season, you can save your time and money for what matters.