Eco-Friendly Fall/Winter Home Maintenance Tips
As winter approaches you want to ensure your Austin home is as energy efficient as possible. Here are some tips from attic to basement for a warm and toasty fall and winter.
As you probably know heat rises which means your attic has to be well insulated and sealed to keep heat inside. Here are some basic, DIY steps to help seal your attic for a cozy winter:
Thoroughly check duct work for any signs of damage. Make repairs using foil or mastic tape to keep warm air from leaking.
Plumbing stacks and electrical wires are another common place that heat can escape, especially if they lead outside. A good solution here is to look for gaps and fill them with spray foam.
Chimneys and furnace flues require special attention as they are culprits for allowing leaks. However they also require special materials due to the heat they carry and generate. There are specialty insulations and caulking that are designed for high temperatures. If you do find gaps, etc. and you are uncomfortable with addressing them it is not a bad idea to call in a roofer or chimney repair expert to take a look just to be safe.
If you have a hatch or door to your attic make sure it is well sealed with caulking. You can even add an insulating blanket behind the door to keep the cold air from escaping into your house.
Proper ventilation is key to roof maintenance. Check attic ventilation to look for signs of leaks and gaps and ensure there is nothing blocking vents such as nests, leaves or other debris. Seal gaps around the vent with caulking.
For the main living spaces in your home you can check each room and hallway for the following:
Outlets and light switches can allow drafts to enter the home. Visit your local hardware or home improvement store and ask for insulation designed to seal these leaks.
Look at all of your windows and doors and feel for drafts and look for gaps. Seal these with caulking.
If you have any windows with air conditioners make sure they are well sealed, or remove them and replace with a proper Energy Star window.
Double check kitchen and bathroom fans for signs of leaks and caulk as required.
Make sure your fireplace flue is sealed tightly when not in use. Just remember to open it when you start a fire.
If you have radiators in your home place heat resistant reflectors between the wall and radiator to keep heat from escaping through the wall.
Make sure floor registers are not blocked so heat can flow into the room.
Make sure sliding glass doors are well sealed with caulking. If you do not have Energy Star sliding glass doors consider using a good insulating drape to help keep heat from escaping.
The basement tends to be drafty, especially when not finished. Heat rises so the basement tends to be the coldest floor in the house. Here are some tips to lessen the chill:
Take the same precautions you did in the attic looking for gaps and leaks around ducts, pipes and electrical wires and then use caulking to seal them up.
If your basement is unfinished take a look at the wall for the rim joists which are located above the cement wall or blocks. This is a common area to see heat escape and can be sealed using caulking.
These tips will help avoid wasting energy throughout the winter while keeping your home in Austin toasty and warm. If you are looking for a home in Austin, or are looking to sell our home, email me.