It’s summer and who wants to think about winter now? No one, but it’s smart to think about doing a few weatherproofing projects while the weather is warm and pleasant. It will save you money and provide comfort later in the year, and season after season. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit can help you determine what improvements need to be done before winter sets in. Many utility companies coordinate audits for a small fee. There are also private companies that provide the service. The audit will reveal the largest sources of energy loss in your home and make recommendations for improvements that can greatly boost your home’s efficiency.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors tend to be the biggest culprits for heat loss. If you have any old or otherwise compromised windows, consider replacing them before the cold breeze blows through. In addition to making your home cozier, you’ll be rewarded with savings on your utility bills by upgrading your windows and doors.
You can also caulk around the outside of your windows, replace missing or broken flashing and replace cracked and loose weatherstripping before season starts. From the inside, you can remove the trim around the windows to see if there are any gaps that need to be filled with expanding spray-foam insulation.
Having enough insulation is imperative to winterizing a home. Do you have enough in your attic, the built-in buffer between your living space and the freezing weather? This article from Energy.gov, recommends if your attic insulation “is less than R-30 (11 inches of fiberglass or rock wool, or 8 inches of cellulose), you could probably benefit by adding more.” If it’s less than R-30, you could be losing precious heat from your living space into the attic. That’s also a recipe for ice dams, which can lead to roof damage. Check out the attic and amp up the amount of insulation if needed.
While you’re in the attic, inspect the roof for leaks. If you find leaks, repair them before they have a chance to lead to more significant damage this winter. If roofing projects fall outside the do-it-yourself category for you, hire a licensed and bonded roofing company.
You can help protect your roof and prevent ice dams this winter by installing de-icing cables on the bottom 36 inches of your roof. Home improvement stores sell de-icing cable kits that can be installed relatively easily. It might be a good project to combine with the hanging of the holiday lights. Also, before the cold comes, remember to clean your gutters and downspouts to further help prevent ice dams.
You may not feel quite ready for winter, but are your heat sources? A furnace tune-up may be in order, along with changing the filter. If you haven’t removed last season’s ashes from your Harman stove or insert, this is the time to do it, along with checking the firebox and venting for any required maintenance. Between now and the beginning of November is prime time to replenish your fuel supply of wood or pellets. And remember, should you lose your power in the winter, your Harman stove is a great backup heat source that works even when your home is without electricity.
If you do a few of these weatherproofing projects now, you’ll be a whole lot more comfortable in a few months, while basking in the warmth of the fire and making plans for next summer – like exploring Alternative Heating Sources for the Cabin.