Since New Year’s Day is almost here, it’s a great time to discuss winterizing your home. There are many small projects you can do that will keep the cold air out and save you money on utility bills.
One test that everyone should try is the hair-dryer & ribbon test for doors and windows that demonstrates whether or not you have gaps that need plugging.
Here is a picture of the ribbon test set up. Tape the ribbons on the door near the bottom so the ribbons lay on the floor in front of the door on the inside. In this photo, the ribbons are lying still on the floor.
Once on the other side of the door, aim your hair dryer at the door threshold and turn it on. If the ribbons don’t move, you have a sharp, air tight seal. If the ribbons spring to life, you have some work to do. Here you can clearly see our ribbons dancing around, indicating gaps that need to be plugged. You can also run this same test on your windows.
To plug any gaps around windows and doors, think weather stripping.
The Home Depot carries over 300 weather stripping-related products on homedepot.com. You can find all kinds of door seals, sweeps, bottoms and thresholds that help you get air-tight seals to keep out the elements.
We also have window insulation kits that improve the insulating power – called the R-value – of single pane windows by up to 90%. These kits will stop window drafts and limit heat loss. Caulk is another great application. Apply caulk in any gaps you find in your baseboards or crown moulding.
Next, let’s talk insulation. One of the best ways to get a warm cozy home is by adding insulation in your attic and basements to reach the recommended R-value for your area. This R-Value chart paints a colorful picture so you know how much insulation you need for your attics and floors.
Remember to stock up on ice melt and traction control mixtures to melt away snow and ice from your porches, walkways, driveways and sidewalks. Make sure your snow blower is ready for the season by checking the spark plugs, gasoline and oil levels.
To make sure you are on top of these all-important tasks, make a note on your calendar, day-timer, blackberry or smart phone for January 1, 2012. At that time, conduct the ribbon tests and consider adding insulation if your R-values are not up to code. Then, complete your home winterization planning by ordering some ice melt from homedepot.com, and checking to make sure your snow blower is in tip-top shape.
Editor’s Note: In this 7-part series on home maintenance, we take a look at different home maintenance topics that sometimes slip our minds. We offer research and advice on how to tackle each one without emptying your wallet. Be sure to use homedepot.com as a resource throughout the year to successfully complete each task and save money.