Keeping your home warm through the winter is more than just a comfort factor. It can save you money in energy efficiency. In truly frigid climates, where the air temperature can drop below zero, retaining warmth in the winter can be a matter of health.
Older homes in particular often suffer from heat loss. There are several DIY projects you can do that can help to keep your home warmer in the cold season.
Find Out Where Your Home Is Losing Heat
Ice-cold air is very impervious, and can seep through the smallest cracks, so it’s important to find out where cold air is getting in. Doors and windows are one of the first places to look. Warm air can also be lost through the attic if your home doesn’t have enough insulation. Sometimes the exterior walls of older homes do not contain enough insulation between them. If you are having trouble discovering where your home is losing heat, many heat suppliers offer free testing for energy efficiency.
Weatherproofing Doors And Windows
There are several weather stripping products that can be found in your local hardware to use on doors and windows, most of which contain easy instructions. Weather stripping should be applied to the edges of doors and windows. Old caulking on the outside of windows should be removed and replaced with a caulking gun. Always check the R-value listed on packages of weather stripping products, which will tell you how effective they are at retaining heat.
Older single pane windows are not energy efficient, and older double-pane windows may have lost their energy efficiency as well. An easy way to tell if your windows are losing heat is if they feel ice cold to the touch in the wintertime.
Many owners of older homes install shutters outside their windows to better retain the heat. Simple shutters can be created inexpensively from a double set of hinged wood panels large enough to cover each window. You can also purchase or make window coverings from thick fabrics, and couple them with tight fitting blinds to help retain the heat.
Your Attic And Exterior Walls
The amount of insulation you need in your attic depends on the region in which you live and how cold your region gets in the winter. Refer to the U.S. Department of Energy website to find out how much attic insulation you need. If your attic is losing heat, you will find that snow on your roof melts quickly in the winter time. This may seem like a good thing, but the problem is that the heat is going through your roof instead of warming you.
Adding insulation to your attic is easy enough using fiberglass rolls of batting available at your hardware. Follow the directions carefully, and be sure to wear a mask when installing them.
Exterior walls that do not contain enough insulation are a more difficult matter that should probably be handled by a contractor. A common solution to lack of insulation on already-built walls is to drill holes in walls and inject foam insulation inside of them. If you have a room that is ice-cold at night in spite of a working furnace, you may consider this to be a necessary expense.
Weatherproofing your home is one of the most important DIY projects you can do, and little things you can do will pay off in better heat retention.