Not too late to winterize!

If you’re like most, you have been putting off some winterization ….. well it’s after Christmas and we’re still experiencing 50 to 60 degree weather. Mother nature has been really kind to those who have been putting things off, but if you’ve lived in Iowa for any amount of time …. You know we’re going to pay for this lovely weather ….. you may want to get started this weekend!

 

·         Check attic insulation.

You will want at least 12” of blow-in or R-38 (batt insulation) in your attic. This blanket will keep the heat rising from your rooms and out through your roof. You may actually be able to do this yourself by rolling out unface fiberglass batt over your existing insulation. Or you can rent an insulation blower and blow it in. Either way, this will create a nice thermal blanket. You can’t over insulate, however, you will want to make sure you don’t cover your soffit vents with insulation. You still need your attic to breath.

 

·         Install or replace weatherstripping, if necessary.

Look around at the rubber surrounding your outside door. Is the weather stripping still in place and in one piece? This is a very easy fix and actually one of the least expensive to keep the cold wind from blowing right through your doorway. An unwelcomed guest, indeed.

 

·         Check exterior doors and windows for gaps.

If you live in an older home, your windows may be letting a lot of cold air in. If they are double hung windows, then you really need to take care of them immediately. This is also an inexpensive fix to saving on those heating costs. Take some narrow self-adhesive rubber weatherstripping on the bottom and joints where they meet. However, if they are really breezy, cover with plastic. It is amazing how easy and inexpensive it is and you can still see out the window.

 

·         Change the filter in the heater. In older furnaces, filters should be changed monthly. Change or service newer, more efficient filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

·         Replace your old thermostat with a new programmable model. How many times have you gone to sleep, leaving your thermostat running at daytime temps? Did you wake up all dry?? Enough said – installing one of these and you don’t have to worry about what the temp is – it’s all set and programed.

 

·         Have your heater inspected by a licensed heating and air conditioning contractor. An inspection ensures that the heater is operating safely and efficiently. In many cases an inspection can alert you as to whether the unit is at the end of its life. It’s nice to have the option to replace an old heater before it quits and becomes an emergency on a cold January day.

 ·       Check the carbon monoxide (CO) detector. If you don’t have one, get one. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that kills. An operating CO detector can prevent a tragedy. While you’re at it, check the smoke detectors to ensure they’re operable.

 ·         Clean gutters and downspouts so fallen leaves won’t clog them. Make sure that downspouts discharge away from the foundation and that soil is graded away from the foundation and at least 6 inches below the siding.

 

·         Clean the fireplace of ashes; visually check the chimney for loose or missing mortar. Also consider having the chimney professionally inspected and swept by a licensed and bonded chimney sweep.