Plants are still blooming and temps are still well above freezing, but don’t be fooled — the seasons will soon be changing. Before fall and winter are officially upon us, now is the time to focus on some simple home maintenance projects to prepare for the chilly weather ahead. The best part is that many of these projects can be done at little or no cost, and they can help you save money on your energy bills. More importantly, they help enhance and protect one of your biggest investments: your home.
Here are a few projects to cross off your to-do list:
Mind the Gaps
Heated air can escape from gaps that develop where building materials meet. Some of the most common areas include where exterior siding meets windows and doors, around roof and foundation lines, around chimneys and where pipes protrude through walls or roofs. Check those locations to see if any gaps have formed and if so, apply the appropriate caulk or sealant.
Close Off the Escape Routes
Heat rises, which means heat from your home also can escape through any vulnerable areas of the roof. The most efficient way to stop that heat loss is by installing ceiling and roof insulation with the appropriate R-value. The R-value refers to the ability of any material to resist the passage of heat.
Gird Up Your Windows
Ensure that your storm windows and doors are effectively keeping warm air in and cold air out. Look for any cracks around glass, sashes and window frames. Apply adhesive foam weather strips to the top and bottom window rails, or nail felt weatherstripping where window sashes and frames make contact. Newer homes are much more likely to have double or triple-paned windows, which can dramatically improve energy efficiency.
Give the Gutters a Glance
Gutters and downspouts can easy become clogged over time, even if they have guards intended to keep out debris. Regularly inspect and clean gutters thoroughly, paying special attention to elbows and bends in the downspouts. Keep hangers fastened securely and plug any holes or cracks. You can also touch up any sections showing signs of rust with rustproof paint.
Augment Your Heating Unit
Consider replacing an older or inefficient heating unit with a gas or oil furnace, or a heat pump with a high efficiency rating. If your system already is efficient, be sure to inspect it regularly and change filters monthly. Consider investing in a smart thermostat that can help save you money by automatically adjust temperatures at times while you are sleeping or when no one is home.
Performing routine home maintenance projects like these can have an immediate impact on lowering your energy bills and maintaining the safety of your family. They also offer the long-term benefits of prolonging the life of your home and enhancing its value.