Wednesday, October 7, 2020 / by Vanessa Saunders
By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.
Winter is an inevitable part of Hudson Valley living. Some years give us a break and are milder than others. Last season was one such "easy winter." That said, the odds favor a harder winter season this time around, so get ready for the cold and damp now. Here are seven ways you can batten down, cinch up, and insulate your home.
Getting your home comfortable for the winter months is DIY at its finest; from weather stripping your entryways to curing drafty windows, the tips below are need-to-know for homeowners of every skill level. In no particular order:
Maintain your furnace and HVAC system.
This is the annual time to change the filters on your forced-air heating system that you always forget. Filters help air quality, and also make your heating system run more efficiently. Put in new ones, and while you're at it, check around the house and unblock obstructions to vents like tables and furniture that block air flow. More information about home heating maintenance can be found HERE.
If you have an older forced air or boiler heating system, consider replacing it with a new Energy Star model. Today's heaters are up to 50 percent more efficient than older ones, keeping you warmer while keeping heat bills low.
Set your heat zones.
If you live in a relatively modern house, it probably has second or third heating and cooling zones you can adjust to run on a pre-assigned schedule. Figure out what areas you use most and set your thermostats to be lower in areas you don't frequent. If your thermostats have timers, coordinate heating with times you are home and set lower temps for when you are away or at work. Shut doors to keep the heat from dispersing to unused spaces.
Swap out sheer curtains for heavier, more insulating drapes to keep more heat in and prevent drafty windows. For problem windows, invest in insulating cellular shades.
Dealing with drafty doors.
Doors are chronic sources of drafts and outdoor air incursion. Seal yours up with weather-stripping, and make a thermal door stopper for the bottoms of your exterior doors.
Insulate glass windows and doors.
Plastic sheeting designed for window and door insulation reduces drafts significantly. You can install it yourself with a hair dryer and double sided tape.
Don’t forget the storm doors.
Change the summertime screen insert on storm doors to the solid glass pane (goodbye summertime cross-breezes). It's very easy to forget to do this on doors that you don’t use every day!
Insulate your attic.
This is a pricier effort, but an easy job. Roll sheets of unbacked insulation between all of the floor joists in your attic; if it’s already between the joists, apply a second layer with the lengths running perpendicular to the joists. Proper insulation reduces heat-loss in your house by as much as 30%. (Insulate exposed pipes in your basement too, so that the warmth from the pipes isn’t heating the basement before it reaches your living space.)
Winter may or may not be hard on us this year, but considering everything else that’s happened in 2020, I’m preparing for the worst.