It may be only Autumn BUT winter is right around the corner (and in some areas, even though it isn’t officially winter, you’ve already had freezing temps and snow) so now is the time to make the necessary updates and repairs to make your home as energy efficient as possible before the winter heating bills add up. This is especially important if you’ve bought an older home because you love the charm and character but aren’t really sure how energy efficient it is or more importantly…isn’t! If you’re a seller putting your older home on the market, being able to show buyers that they won’t have to worry about exorbitant heating (or cooling for that matter) bills because of the updates you’ve made can make the difference between for sale and sold! And remember, just because your home is ‘newer’ does not mean it was built in the most energy efficient way. So whether your home is new or 100 years old, the following tips may benefit you.
- Areas to check for leaks: Of course you have the obvious…windows, doors, attic (rafters & windows), basement windows or concrete blocks but there are some spots you might never think of: electrical outlets on exterior walls, dryer vent, plumbing and ductwork at their point of entry, recessed can lights if the ceiling has attic or roof directly above, whole house fan and even your mail chute if it’s in your door or wall. If you’re in a freezing cold climate, make sure you cover and insulate your exterior water spigots to avoid pipes breaking inside your home. (I speak from experience, this is not a pleasant experience but an easy one to avoid!)
- No sure if you have a leak? On a windy day, hold a match to the area (with necessary precautions) you’re checking and see if it stays lit or blows out. If it blows out, you have a leak.
- Once you’ve determined where your leaks are located, simply choose the best method to resolve it: A great product that is easy to use and very effective is Flex Shot. (Again personal experience…I live in one of those 100 year old homes!) It is less messy than caulk, works as well as weather stripping and creates an immediate seal. There are inexpensive foam inserts that fit inside the outlets on your exterior walls that works like insulation to keep out the air.
- Insulate your attic and basement exterior walls. You can also check and see if there is a shutter seal available for your type of whole house fan.
- If you can’t afford to replace old windows or you love the charm of the original wavy glass so prevalent in century old homes, again, grab some Flex Shot (or similar easy to use waterproofing product) in either white or clear, whichever will match your trim the best, and seal around the outer edges of the trim and the interior edges around the glass.
If you take the time to do even a fraction of the tips above, you will see your heating bills in the winter and your cooling bills in the summer rival newer homes that don’t have anywhere close to the character of your own!!