A winter chill has been creeping into the forecast. Though the official start of winter is still weeks away, now is the time to prepare your home for cold winter nights. Winterizing can increase your home’s value, save you money, and make you and your family more comfortable during the cold winter months. Dwayne Boggs of Boggs Inspection Services has some advice to get your home in shape for winter.

Weather-Stripping Options

There are many options for weather-stripping around doors and windows, which add a layer of defense against the cold. Weather-stripping seals gaps around doors and windows, increasing energy efficiency, and is simple to install yourself. It is available in v-strip, felt, foam tape, and tubular stripping types. A door sweep is also a type of weather stripping that is useful for keeping warm air in when there is space below the door and above the frame.

Winterization Windows
Single pane windows can be made more efficient by the addition of storm windows. Even efficient windows and doors can be improved with the proper application of weather stripping. Photo courtesy: Boggs Inspection Services

Felt is inexpensive and can be applied to a door or window sash with small nails or staples. It is not as durable, so it must be replaced more regularly, and should not be used where it will be exposed to a lot of moisture.

V-strip is made from plastic or metal and is used along the sides of double hung or sliding windows and on the top and sides of doors. It is attached with adhesive or finishing nails, and because of its shape, it springs open to seal cracks and crevices where warm air can escape.

Foam tape is made from open or closed cell foam or rubber and comes with a sticky back. It is inexpensive, easy to install, and works great for irregular cracks. It is best used on the top and bottom of window sashes, and is easily cut to length to adhere where needed.

Tubular stripping is made from rubber, vinyl or silicone. It is a narrow sponge rubber or vinyl tubing that comes attached to wood or metal mounting strips. It can be used at the top or bottom of window sashes, along the bottom of a door or between the door and its jamb. Silicone types are often inserted into milled grooves.

Contrary to their name, door sweeps are not intended to sweep the floor. They should be installed so they come in contact with the bevel on the threshold, sealing the bottom of the door. They come in brush and silicone types.

If you have applied some or all of these weather-stripping measures to your home in the last several years, now is the time to check for routine wear and tear and replace any weather-stripping that is worn and has outlived its usefulness, Dwayne says.

Consider Storm Windows

Older homes often have single pane windows. “They are notoriously energy inefficient,” says Dwayne. Window replacements can increase a home’s energy efficiency, but they are expensive. If you aren’t ready to replace the windows in your home, storm windows can be a less expensive option. Storm windows are extra windows that are placed on the interior or exterior of the home. By adding this additional window layer, drafts are sealed, providing an insulating barrier to cold air. Handy homeowners can install storm windows themselves, but even professional installation is much less expensive than window replacement.

Boggs Inspection Services Home Winterization Attic
Check your attic insulation to make sure it is at the proper R-value. Photo courtesy: Boggs Inspection Services

For homes that already have storm windows, ensure you are maintaining them by cleaning in between the windows. Maintaining your storm windows is an essential step to reduce moisture in the space between the original window and the storm window, which can cause damage to the window frame.

Bulk Up Attic Insulation

Warm air rises. An improperly insulated attic allows your money to float away. Adding insulation of the proper R-value for Pierce County, to bring it up to R38 to R60, will increase your home’s energy efficiency, explains Dwayne. Even professional installation, which is more expensive than doing it yourself, still offers a great return on investment, saving you money and keeping you warm all winter long.

Protect Pipes

To protect pipes on exterior walls from freezing, they should be insulated. When water freezes, it expands, cracking the pipe and costing thousands of dollars of water damage to the home. Pipe insulation can be tricky if the pipes are not exposed and it is a task that might be best left to a professional. Now is a good time to ensure faucets attached to the outside of your home are shut off completely. “Attaching an outdoor faucet cover is an inexpensive step to protect the faucet and pipe from freezing temperatures,” Dwayne adds.

A programmable thermostat can raise the temperature of your home while you are awake and lower it while you are away or sleeping. Some programmable thermostats can even be controlled via apps on your smartphone. Photo credit: Holly Reed

Keep an Eye on the Thermostat

Turning the heat down a few degrees, while everyone is asleep or away, can reduce energy costs significantly over time. Better yet, a programmable thermostat can make this task simple and effortless. Programmable thermostats can be set to raise the temperature before you wake or return home, so your home is comfortable when you are most active.

Maintain Heating Systems and Ducts

If you haven’t made time to have your heating system inspected, it’s not too late. A properly maintained heating system runs more efficiently, saving you money all winter long. Replacing filters in line with your system’s recommendation will keep it running in peak condition. The service technician can also check your ductwork for leaks, which reduce efficiency. Check out this SouthSoundTalk article for other fall maintenance you may need to catch up on.

A few simple steps will help keep, your home cozy throughout the winter. If you would like to schedule a home inspection or you have questions about winterizing your home, visit the Boggs Inspection Services website or call Boggs Inspection Services at 360-480-9602.

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