It’s time to weatherize
February 29, 2016
Come March, we’re all ready for spring. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get it. Weatherizing your home can still pay off in comfort and lower heating bills. And next fall, when you’re busy raking leaves, you’ll be really pleased with yourself for having done it already.
A recent online story published in The Home Story by Fannie Mae has pulled together 7 simple, affordable weatherizing projects that can make a big difference. Number one: plug all the small leaks and drafts around your home. Together, they can amount to a hole the size of a basketball that sucks heat out of your house and money out of your wallet.
Here are the details on all seven projects, including the estimated cost and time commitment for each one.
1. Plug Small Leaks
Caulk can be used to place a flexible seal around cracks or joints (less than 1/4-inch wide). Cracks found by windows and door frames, plumbing fixtures and pipes, and even ceiling fixtures can be patched up with a caulk gun.
Weather stripping or a window film kit can be used around movable joints, especially windows and doors. George Lynn Sharp, a homeowner in southeast Fresno, CA, recently added weather-stripping around his front door (a French door), both underneath and between the doors. “It’s completely eliminated the draft in the entry,” he says.
Estimated time: 15 minutes to two hours depending on home size
Estimated cost: Under $50
2. Change Your Furnace Filters Monthly
During the cold months when the heater is increasingly in use, furnace filters can get dirty faster, restricting airflow and increasing energy demand in the process. Lou Manfredini, a national home improvement expert and Ace Hardware’s “Home Expert,” suggests homeowners use pleated filters as their increased surface area can capture more air particulates.
And there’s a bonus benefit — cleaner, healthier air circulating in your home.
Estimated time: 15 minutes
Estimated cost: $6 to $16 per filter
3. Add Insulation Behind Outside Wall Receptacles and Electrical Devices
Kits are available with insulated foam forms that replicate your outlet receptacle shapes. By removing the plate and adding the foam insulation behind each one, you can prevent heat loss through the outlet and switch covers.
There’s no real electrical work here, says Sharp. Just take the screws off the plates to remove, put an insulation strip behind the plates, and screw back into the wall to properly seal them from the cold.
Estimated time: one to two minutes per plate
Estimated cost: $3 to $5 depending on style
4. Insulate Your Pipes
If you have a basement or an older home with water pipes on the exterior walls, insulating those pipes can prevent the water flowing through from freezing and bursting the pipe — which could lead to structural damage and a hefty repair bill.
Foam pipe insulation looks like a giant straw with a slit down the length so you can cut it and wrap around the pipe. “It’s an easy project that requires no expertise,” says Richards.
Sharp added insulation to the pipes under his home and notes an unexpected benefit: “It’s really cut down on the noise of the water running through the pipes too.”
Estimated time: 20 minutes to one hour
Estimated cost: $3 to $5 per pipe
5. Disconnect Hoses and Cover Water Spigots
If the winter regularly brings freezing cold to where you live, Manfredini suggests using insulated bonnets to cover outdoor water spigots. “This stops the cold wind from blowing directly on the spigot that could lead to that spigot freezing and cracking a pipe,” he says.
Estimated time: one minute to install
Estimated cost: $6 each
6. Install Plastic Window Treatments and Consider Storm Doors or Windows
Replacing windows with double pane vinyl windows can cost a lot of money up front — they usually run $500 per window — but they help in reducing energy usage during colder months. A cheaper alternative is to cover single-pane windows with a window kit or use weather stripping to seal them. “This is something most homeowners can do that increases the energy efficiency of that opening by 70 percent,” says Manfredini.
A storm door can increase energy efficiency by sealing drafts and reducing air flow, but this may require hiring a professional to install it. Storm windows can be fabricated to the sizes needed to cover single-pane windows for about $125 per opening.
Estimated time: one to two hours
Estimated cost: $12 to $15 for a two-window kit, $200 to $300 for a storm door and $125 per window ($50 to $100 per hour for professional installation if needed)
7. Boost Attic and Basement Insulation
To make sure homeowners have enough insulation for an energy-efficient home, they should grab a ruler and climb up into the attic (or venture downstairs to measure the insulation in the basement ceiling). There should be at least 11 inches of fiberglass or rock wool insulation, or 8 inches of cellulose insulation, says Richards. “That goes for the attic hatch as well as the floor.” If people are coming up short, says Richards, they should add additional insulation to keep warm air from escaping.
We’re linking you to a partner article. You can read the original over at The Home Story. Framework partners with organizations across the country that believe in education for smart homeownership. What’s your path to smart homeownership? Find a local homeownership advisor here..
Filed Under: For Homeowners