Now that the weather has turned chilly, it’s time to start thinking about ways to save on heating costs. Here are some excellent ideas on weathering your home:
Weather strip and insulate the attic access door.
Seal around the outside of the chimney with metal flashing and high-temperature sealant such as flue caulk or muffler cement.
Seal around plumbing vents, both in the attic floor and in the roof.
Seal the top of interior walls in pre-1950s houses anywhere you can peer down into the wall cavity. Use strips of rigid insulation, and seal the edges with silicone caulk.
Seal all other holes between the heated space and the attic.
Seal and insulate around any accessible heating or A/C ducts. This applies to both the basement and attic.
Seal any holes that allow air to rise from the basement or crawlspace directly into the living space above. Check around plumbing, chimney, and electrical penetrations.
Caulk around basement window frames.
Seal holes in the foundation wall as well as gaps between the concrete foundation and the wood structure (at the sill plate and rim joist). Use caulk or foam sealant.
Caulk on the inside around window and door trim, sealing where the frame meets the wall and all other window woodwork joints.
Weather strip exterior doors, including those to garages and porches.
For windows that will be opened, use weather stripping or temporary flexible rope caulk.
Install foam-rubber gaskets behind electrical outlets and switch trim plates on exterior walls.
Use paintable or colored caulk around bath and kitchen cabinets on exterior walls.
Caulk any cracks where the floor meets exterior walls. Such cracks are often hidden behind the edge of the carpet.
Do you have a fireplace? If you don’t use it, plug the flue with an inflatable plug, or install a rigid insulation plug. If you do use it, make sure the damper closes tightly when a fire isn’t burning.
Caulk around all penetrations where electrical, telephone, cable, gas, dryer vents, and water lines enter the house. You may want to stuff some fiberglass insulation in the larger gaps first.
Caulk around all sides of window and door frames to keep out the rain and reduce air infiltration.
Check your dryer exhaust vent hood. If it’s missing the flapper, or it doesn’t close by itself, replace it with a tight-fitting model.
Remove window air conditioners in winter or at least cover them tightly, and make rigid insulation covers for the flimsy side panels.
For more great information, come to the Library and browse the books on insulating and weatherizing your home. Also, read this pamphlet from the Department of Energy: