Tips to save money, get home ready for win­ter cold

The Enterprise - - Real Estate - 2) Seal air leaks. Brand­point

Many peo­ple look for­ward to the cooler weather. The brisk au­tumn winds and col­or­ful leaves sig­nal that once again it’s time to take out the sweaters and scarves. There are the hot soups and pump­kin-fla­vored drinks to keep one warm as the weather gets cooler, but for the con­sci­en­tious home­owner and ded­i­cated DIYer, it’s time to start win­ter­iz­ing the house.

Seal­ing out pesky drafts around the home helps save en­ergy while also mak­ing it more com­fort­able. It also pre­vents wa­ter dam­age from rain, ice or snow and blocks out pests that might be try­ing to find a warm place to spend the win­ter.

As you’re de­cid­ing where to get started, here are four projects that will go a long way to save you money and make your home ready for what­ever Mother Na­ture throws at it this win­ter.

The best way to keep your fam­ily warm and toasty while the wind, snow and sleet rage out­side is to en­sure your home and its build­ing en­ve­lope — the ther­mal bar­rier be­tween the in­te­rior of a home and the ex­te­rior en­vi­ron­ment — is prop­erly sealed. How well the “shell” of the build­ing (walls, roof and foun­da­tion) is sealed against the ex­te­rior en­vi­ron­ment di­rectly im­pacts the amount of en­ergy re­quired to main­tain a com­fort­able in­door tem­per­a­ture. Main­tain­ing a well-sealed build­ing en­ve­lope means you’ll use less en­ergy to heat and cool your home, saving you money. Take the time to check for and seal the fol­low­ing com­mon air leaks around your home, both in­side and out:

• In­te­rior win­dows and doors: Slowly move a lit in­cense stick around the edges. If the smoke drifts to the side, it in­di­cates an air leak that needs to be sealed.

• In­te­rior base­boards and trim: Check for cracks and gaps where walls meet floors and ceil­ings.

• Ex­te­rior win­dows and doors: Check for gaps and cracks where the frame meets the wall. Re­place cracked or miss­ing sealant around frames with an ex­te­rior grade sealant.

• Pipes and vents: If there is a gap be­tween the pipe or vent and the sur­face it goes through, it needs to be sealed.

Most cracks and gaps less than a half inch in width and depth can be filled with a sealant like DAP Ex­treme Stretch. De­signed to stretch over 600 per­cent, Ex­treme Stretch can with­stand the el­e­ments as your home ex­pands and con­tracts, plus it is easy to ap­ply on vir­tu­ally any in­te­rior and ex­te­rior sur­face such as win­dows, trim, pipes, vents and sid­ing. It will not crack or lose ad­he­sion, saving you money and pre­vent­ing nasty drafts. And re­mem­ber, be­fore you ap­ply, make sure to re­move any old sealant that re­mains to en­sure the new sealant can ad­here prop­erly.

We all know that a tra­di­tional way to seal in the heat and keep out the cold is to in­su­late your win­dows with plas­tic film. This is an un­sightly so­lu­tion and leaves your home look­ing shrink-wrapped. A more ef­fec­tive and less ob­tru­sive method is to use DAP Seal ‘N Peel, a tem­po­rary, re­mov­able weath­er­strip caulk that’s great for seal­ing up win­dows for the sea­son. It ap­plies eas­ily like a caulk around win­dows, doors, at­tic hatches, pipes and vents to keep out drafts. Once spring comes, it eas­ily peels off to let in the fresh air.

If you live in a large house and have a room or two that you don’t use, con­sider seal­ing it up for the win­ter. Sim­ply turn off the heat­ing vent or ra­di­a­tor in the room to avoid pay­ing to heat a room you aren’t us­ing. Then use a door draft stop­per or dec­o­ra­tive long pil­low along the door floor to pre­vent any drafts.

Whether you like the cold weather or not, the com­ing win­ter is a great op­por­tu­nity to check up on your home and pre­pare it for win­ter. For the novice or the die-hard DIYer, it’s an im­por­tant time to as­sess and ad­dress your home’s de­fenses against win­ter weather.

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