The experts at ProTect Painters, a professional residential and commercial painting franchise, suggest the following home winterization tips to reduce energy consumption-and heating bills-this winter:
Paint the exterior: When moisture enters the home through the porous exterior, it makes heating systems work extra hard. To lock moisture out, make sure the house’s exterior is painted every few years. And don’t worry if you think it’s too cold to paint. Today’s state-of-the-art paint and primer products can be applied in temperatures as low as 35 °F.
Seal window and door cracks: Drafty doors and windows will cause energy usage to skyrocket. The first step in sealing out cold air is caulking around the exterior and interior of window and door frames every year or two, making sure to remove the old, cracked caulk first. Next, prep, prime, and paint window and door frames. Lastly, install tight-fitting weather stripping in all cracks. To find leaks, place lit candles near suspected doors and windows. If the candle light bounces around, then it’s a good chance you have a leak.
Rethink the fireplace: Fireplaces can send as much as eight percent of heated air through the chimney, negating any heat burning wood emits. To keep more heated air indoors, use the fireplace only for special occasions. If that's not an option, consider investing in a fireplace insert, which prevents the chimney from sucking heat from your living room.
Use programmable thermostats: Don't waste energy when you are not home or asleep by running your heating or cooling systems full blast. Programmable thermostats let you adjust the temperature at specific times of day. By lowering the temperature eight degrees Fahrenheit from its normal winter temperature for eight hours a day, you can reduce energy usage by as much as 10 percent.
Prep the deck: This task technically will not help you stay warm this winter, but it should be on every fall to-do list nevertheless. That’s because fixing up the deck and porch in the fall can help decrease air conditioning usage come spring. When the weather finally warms up, people will naturally want to spend more time outside if they have an inviting outdoor area that provides respite from the heat. Before winter, replace any splintered wood and apply new finish, stain and water repellent to the deck and patio so they can withstand the harsh cold weather and be ready for use by the first warm day.