Winter can be an expensive time around the house. First there are the holidays to grapple with, and then there is the weather. Fortunately, here at CBS Home Improvements, we have a lot of ideas for making your home more energy efficient for winter! We’ve collected the following winter home improvement tips in hopes of helping you stretch your budget a bit further this season!
Audit Your Home’s Energy Usage
CBS Home Improvements can help you get a handle on this winter home improvement tip. One of our professionals can come out and evaluate each room in your home for possible energy leakage and safety hazards, and then provide guidance on how to correct any problems discovered. Since air leakage accounts for up to 30 percent of your energy bill, it’s important to have an expert go through your home and determine where those leaks are coming and going so they can be properly dealt with.
Sealing Up Air Leaks in Walls
One of the things our guys will do during an energy evaluation of your home is use an infrared thermometer to gage where air is leaking. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the area around your outlets and switches seems colder than the rest of the wall? Naturally, the holes left in the drywall during the building of your home to allow wiring and pipes to pass through can suck in a lot of outside cold air. Once we evaluate where these places are, one of our professionals can help you caulk those gaps to stop the cold air coming in. Because a lot of these air leakage gaps deal with spaces for electrical wiring, it’s important to have one of our professionals help for safety reasons.
Sealing Air Leaks in the Ceiling
Another area that often leaks cold air is the space around old can lights or recessed lighting in your ceilings. Some old can lights are actually vented to allow warm air to escape to prevent overheating. The space around these old cans should be caulked and the can be wrapped in aluminum tape to prevent heat from leaking out into the attic. To prevent overheating (which can be a serious safety hazard) and save money at the same time, make sure never to use incandescent bulbs in these old cans. Better yet, we can replace these old, leaky can lights with tighter, longer-lasting, energy saving LED recessed lights instead. During the installation process, we can make sure the rings are properly caulked and sealed to prevent air leakage.
Fix Insulation Gaps
This is another winter home improvement tip we frequently help families with this time of year. We can use expanding foam insulation that grows to fill cracks, particularly around anything that goes through a wall such as piping, plumbing and air vents. It is important to have professional help to avoid any hazards such as insulating around a gas flue, which is a severe fire and safety danger. We can also help with gaps and cracks around the foundation and crawl spaces. For larger insulation gaps, we can also advise you on greener, large space insulation options such as denim insulation (as opposed to fiberglass insulation).
Critical Winter Home Improvement Tip: Check Your Heating System
If nearly 30 percent of your heating bill comes from air leaks, and another 30 percent comes from an inefficient heating system, it stands to reason that by taking care of the air leaks and your heating system, you could ostensibly lop your winter heating bill by nearly 60 percent, give or take a few points. Make sure to install a fresh, high-quality pleated filter at the beginning of the season and then switch it out with a new one every couple of months. We can also tune up your furnace and check for any other problems that may be lurking and deal with them before they become big enough to shut down your heat during a cold snap.
How Are Your Windows?
We understand that not everybody can afford a windows replacement project right now, but if you are thinking of ways to update your home’s energy performance and curb appeal at the same time, this is definitely something to think about. Older homes with single-pane windows are particularly vulnerable to heat leakage. Today there are double and even triple-pane windows on the market with high-tech metallic coatings that reflect heat back into your home during the winter while making more use of the sun as a heat source as well. Talk with one of our window installation experts today about what might be a good fit for your home. Windows replacements are not a one-size-fits-all project, and the age of your home, how it’s situated under the sun, and many other factors can affect whether your windows are working for or against you in the winter time.
For more customized winter home improvement tips for your house, call us at (703) 670-3200 so one of our energy efficiency experts can help you save energy and money today!
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