Winterizing Your Home

by John Bogdanski - Date: 2007-01-23 - Word Count: 582 Share This!

Strategies to Combat Heat Loss in Your Home

The objective of any comprehensive heating program is to allow maximum heating at the lowest cost. The three areas of influence that you, the consumer, control are: winterization of your home, heating oil costs and appliance efficiency. While the latter two are important to an overall program, winterizing your home is an integral part of any successful program. A well thought out and executed program for winterizing your home will invariably give you the largest return on investment of the three. Savings can range from 5-20% by employing these simple, yet inexpensive, measures.

A good winterization program is composed of three main elements:

Appliance performance
Personal behaviors
Structural considerations

Appliance performance:

Change air filters in your furnace at least once a month. Air filters allow only clean air into the furnace, keeping the mechanics dirt and grim free. A dirty furnace works twice as hard as a clean one.

Insulate your water heater if using heating oil. Maintaining the temperature longer requires less fuel consumption.

Keep vents obstructions free. Use deflectors to re-route air around obstructions.

Use humidifiers. Moist air creates a humid effect making your home feel warmer.

Personal behaviors:

Open the curtains when sunlight is available and close them when it is not.

Use common sense. Re-evaluate your actual living space. Close off spare bedrooms and other areas not requiring heat. Restrict the in and out traffic of children. Dress warmly.

Lower the settings on thermostats and consider using programmable thermostats that automatically vary heat settings throughout a 24-hour period

Use ceiling fans can keep the air circulating and spread the heat in each room.
Structural considerations:

Check the heating ductwork. Insure sections are tightly fitted, free of holes and sealed with tape. Aluminum tape is a little more expensive, but holds up better under moisture from condensation. Winterizing ductwork by wrapping it in insulation is another option.

Cold floors result in air inside the home cooling off and requiring re-heating. While some ventilation is required to reduce moisture, check the crawl space for excessive drafts. Seal these with plastic, plywood or Styrofoam. A vapor barrier may reduce excessive dampness as a means of further winterizing the crawl space.

An annual inspection of exterior caulking around all window and door casings is recommended. Check window glazing in older windows as another source of heat loss.

Consider winterizing water lines with foam sleeves. It prevents freezing and keeps water as warm as possible.

Check for drafts around external openings in the house: windows, doors and chimneys. This can be done with a cigarette or incense. Follow the smoke to the source of the draft. Your local home supply store will carry winterization tape, insulating foam, or caulk that will seal these leaks; keeping heat in and cold out.

Older single-pane windows often allow heat loss through the framing of the window itself. Covering these windows with clear plastic will help remedy this winterization deficiency.

Note: Care must be taken not to exclude the entrance of all fresh air.

Insure you have 6-8 inches of insulation in your attic or loft area. Heat is lost through the roof if improperly insulated. Materials for this are available at your local home improvement store.

This is not a total list of all that can be done, but it should get you started on your individual winterization program. Look around your home and think it through. Each situation is unique and will offer you opportunities to save money if you winterize properly. STAY WARM!

For more information on Home Heating Oil Prices and energy solutions, visit Home Heating Oil Prices Do your research,save yourself some money. John Bogdanski a renegade Oil Heat marketing executive, rips open the curtain,exposing the industry.
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