The good news is December 21st (this past Tuesday) was the Winter Solstice. Although it was the shortest day of the year, that means the days are now getting longer and Spring is on the way. The bad news is Spring is still a long way off and we have a long cold winter ahead. It may not be a fun topic but important to review nonetheless. Let’s talk about keeping your home comfortable, safe, running energy efficiently, and protecting you from costly repairs.
Most homes have either limited insulation or too little insulation in the attic. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attics should have a minimum of R-38 insulation, which is typically between 10 and 14 inches deep. Keeping adequate attic insulation prevents warm air from escaping the main living area and traveling into the attic.
Change your furnace filters every two months. Two months is a good rule of thumb year round but especially important in the extreme temperatures whether that be summer or winter. Clogged filters can cause your HVAC to operate less efficiently, work harder, and ultimately reduce the life expectancy of your furnace system. You can order replacement filters online and have them delivered to your door periodically as a convenient reminder.
Replace damaged or worn weather stripping. Inspect weather stripping around doors and windows. Over time stripping can become worn or in our case, destroyed by dogs who would rather be inside or outside. An easy way of testing drafts is to light an incense stick, go around the doors and windows and watch for the smoke stream to be disrupted. You could also caulk around penetrations in windows and doors.
Install carbon monoxide detectors. Similar to smoke detectors, CO detectors are recommended on each (living) level of the home and inside each bedroom. Some detectors serve both functions so you don’t need to have two separate detectors installed. If you already have detectors installed, take the opportunity to change the batteries and test their operation.
Reverse ceiling fan operation. In the summer months, run your fan blades clockwise, which will blow air down. In the winter months, reverse the fan blades to run in a counterclockwise motion. As warm air collects in the highest point in the room, the fan will blow the warm air across the ceiling and down the walls for better room comfort.
Finally, take care of your water lines. As you know when water freezes it expands and can burst water lines causing expensive damage. Cover the exterior spigots with foam insulation covers. Also insulate water lines with foam insulation tubes and/or wrap exposed water lines with heat tape.
There are several tips on winterizing your home and I would encourage you to research the winterizing tips in detail as they may be specific to the needs of your home. In addition, there is more detail available than I can offer in my weekly article. Until next week, stay warm, enjoy your Holiday season, and Love where you Live…. And if you don’t, contact your local REALTOR®.
Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President