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An Illinois River Almanac

Jason Haupt's Energy and Environment Blog

The weather outside…

Posted by Jason Haupt - Energy

The weather outside is changing.  Some like the cooler weather and some would like to avoid the cold and get back to balmy summer days.  Whether it is warm or cool having an efficient home is the best way to keep more money in your pocket.  Now is a great time to think about how to make your home more efficient.  The days are finally cool enough to have your house open while you work on projects to make your home more efficient.  A more efficient home is often more comfortable in addition to saving you money.  The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true here.

 

Here are a few suggestions on how to make sure your home efficient and comfortable this winter:

  • Check the weather stripping - This is the stuff that runs around the doors and windows in your home.  Ensuring that the weather stripping is in good condition will help to reduce or eliminate the draft from your doors and windows. There are a number of materials that are used as weather stripping ranging from rubber or silicone to felt.  To check the door, first look at the material that is sealing the gap in the door.  For rubber or silicone weather stripping, check to make sure the material is whole, not cracked, and not permanently compressed.  This type of seal pushes back against the door to seal the gap between the jamb and the door.  For felt, you are looking for a whole piece around the door jamb and again you want there to be some “spring” in the material.  Now close the door and from the inside check to see if you can see light coming through the edges of the door.  To check the weather stripping on windows, look at the material around the window sash.  The material is compressed to make a seal, so make sure it is whole and undamaged.  If the weather stripping is damaged, replace it with new weather stripping.  This can be bought at a home supply or hardware store and is relatively inexpensive.  It is also easy to install. Simply follow the instruction on the packaging.
  • Check your windows - Windows are objects that have the potential for multiple areas of draft.  The glass in the windows can provide a draft source.  You should inspect the windows each year to ensure the glass in the window is solid and there are no gaps in the caulk.  If you have single pane glazed windows, the glazing should be inspected with care.  The glazing is what holds and seals the glass to the window frame.  If it is cracked, you should consider replacing the glazing.  This can be done yourself or you can hire someone to do the job.  If done properly, it will seal the windows effectively.  Maintaining the windows is important.  If you have wood windows, make sure the paint is not cracking and peeling, as this will expose the wood to the elements and can cause the windows to fail and make the window drafty.
  • Have your heating system checked - This is a simple step to take and will help to increase the efficiency of your heating system.  Regular maintenance of your heating system will help to prevent any problems down the road, but also ensures that the system is running efficiently.  An efficient system is much cheaper to run than an inefficient one.
    These are just a few suggestions on how to make your home more efficient and comfortable.  Small changes and simple maintenance can make your home more comfortable and cheaper in the cooler months.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Jason Haupt (jdhaupt@illinois.edu).

 



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