Winter comes early up here from the Rockies, and you can't start too soon getting ready for the cold, snowy months beforehand. Among the critical factors in maintaining the health of your family and your floors as temperatures plummet is maintaining the internal environment of your house as balanced and stable as possible. Here, we offer a few tips that will assist you stay warm throughout the winter.
1. SEAL LEAKS AND DRAFTS
In the average home, something like 30% of all heat loss happens around windows and doors. Occasionally they are not sealed tightly enough, or perhaps they are not thick enough to hold in the heat. In either case, there are loads of things that you can do to prevent leakage in these regions.
Some difficulty places to see are windows and door frames, outside vents for dryers, baseboards, electrical outlets and boxes, plumbing fixtures, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and places where ducts link to outside walls.
Most leaks around windows and doors may be sealed up using caulking (indoors and out), sealant, or weather stripping, and you can use foam gaskets behind light switch and outlet covers to halt the flow of air.2.INSULATE YOUR WINDOWS
Obviously, not all the heat loss around windows seeps through cracks and gaps. Windows themselves are pretty adequate conductors of heat, relative to your walls that are insulated, and will run the heat in your home right out on the great outdoors.
To combat this effect, a lot of people in cold climates replace screens with storm windows and doors come the fall. These install and uninstall quite easily and can reduce the quantity of heat lost through windows by as much as 50%. A cheaper, albeit a less elegant version of the solution, is to pay the insides of windows with vinyl sheeting (available in any hardware store) that reduces heat transfer.
Layering curtains or finding milder drapery to hang more than windows and glass doors can also help to insulate these vulnerable regions. Don't forget to open the curtains on south-facing windows throughout daylight hours, however, to pull as much of the sunlight's heat (and get too much sunlight for yourself) as possible.
3. MAINTAIN YOUR FIREPLACE
Fireplaces are another heat sucker, frequently draining more warmth from a home when not in use than they supply when in use. If you feel a draft despite the damper closed, then it may be warped, worn out, or rusted and need replacing.
You'll also want to make an appraisal of the fireplace inside and chimney outside. If you notice any bricks from place or open mortar joints, especially inside the fireplace, this is something that you are going to want to get fixed right away. Not only can some heat energy flow out through those areas, but it poses a severe fire hazard. Don't use your fireplace until these things are repaired.
If you find using the fireplace a lot of bother, consider sealing it up entirely. You can do this easily using a stiff piece of something such as cardboard or plywood, or perhaps something with insulation, and using foam sealant to seal it set up. Then simply set a wonderful fireplace screen in front of it and assess the sealant from time to time.
4. REVERSE YOUR CEILING FANS
This is an easy one. Ensure that your ceiling fans are set to turn in a clockwise turning (you can change the rotation on many fans with a change on the foundation ). According to the government's Energy Star program, this will produce an updraft, pushing warm air that has risen to the ceiling back into the room.
5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEATING SYSTEM
Hopefully, by now you have run your heater at least once to make certain everything is functioning correctly. Since the temperature drops, getting faulty boilers and boilers repaired takes longer and longer and the distress you need to suffer while waiting gets worse quite quickly.
Before you begin running the heater full time, you will want to replace the air filter, for your wellbeing and to maximize efficacy. Experts also suggest cleaning the unit once a year according to the manufacturer's recommendation. It may even be a fantastic idea to acquire the unit inspected every year or so to make sure it is working at its best and to ensure it is not putting out excesses of carbon monoxide.
Additionally, make sure all your air vents are unblocked and open so that the warm air can circulate throughout your home instead of merely sitting in the air ducts. Speaking of which, you also need to check to be certain those ducts are properly insulated and not only seeping heat to the attic or crawl space on your ceilings and walls.
In case you've got old-fashioned hot water radiators, you are able to boost their heating efficiency by bleeding their valves, releasing any air that might have worked its way inside. As soon as they are up and functioning, consider putting a reflector behind them along with a fan before help disperse the hot air out into the space.
6. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ADEQUATE INSULATION
Each of the aforementioned is for naught if your home is not well-insulated. If heat is leaking out through the huge surface area of your ceiling, it is going to matter very little how well-sealed your windows and doors are. Therefore, among the most essential things you can do to ready your house for winter is to ensure that the insulation in your attic is thick (the Energy Star program recommends 12 to 15 inches) and is in good repair. Dirty spots in your insulation can indicate air leaks, so have a look about for all these and repair any leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this function. Ensuring your loft insulation is top notch will also help protect your house against ice dams that could form on the roof, but we will discuss this in a later post.
Similarly, try to make sure that your connected garage, sunroom, as well as other rooms that aren't connected to your central heating system are stored as hot as is reasonably possible, always above freezing. The best thing is to insulate the garage as well as your do the loft. It may be a little bit of an expense at the outset, but it is going to save in the long run.
7. USE HUMIDIFIERS
Cold winter air has a very low capacity of moisture, to start with, but if you pull that air inside and warmth it, the relative humidity may get dangerously low. This may result in respiratory difficulties for your loved ones and unsightly cracks and gaps in your timber. Last monthwe looked at several innovative methods to boost the relative humidity in your house as the air starts to dry. Among the most reliable and consistent ways is to use a loofah. Having a loofah, it is much easier to keep that healthy RH range of 40-60%. And, of course, if you've got a whole house humidifier installed with your heating system, now's the time to clean its components, replace the evaporator pad, and get ready for this sucker to fire up.