As we head into the coldest part of the season, homeowners should be preparing their homes to stay warm while keeping their utility bills low. We asked subsidiaries of Neighborly, which oversees multiple home service franchises, to share winter tips.
Brad Roberson, brand president of Glass Doctor , a company that provides glass repair and installations, detailed his techniques to keep cold air from coming through windows. His No. 1 go-to inexpensive way to seal doors and windows is weatherstrips.
Here’s how to use them:
• Using compression weatherstrips is the most effective way to protect seal-swinging doors and window sashes. V-type weatherstrips fit against the side of a door or window jamb and form a seal to prevent cold air from entering. Foam weatherstripping comes in various sizes with an adhesive backing on one side. Although foam weatherstripping is the easiest to install, it lasts only one to three years.
• Installing new door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors can block out cold air. To ensure a good fit, measure the length of the door when it’s closed and cut the sweep to the size you need.
• Applying foam tape is a great weatherproofing alternative for doors and windows that are slightly warped. Cut the tape to size and secure it along areas that have a draft.
• Hanging insulated curtains can help retain heat in the winter, but they must be closed for most of the day.
• Re-caulking windows and doors helps seal out drafts. If you won’t open any windows until spring, temporarily seal them shut with caulking and peel it off when the weather starts to get warmer.
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• Using a door snake - a weighted fabric tube - at the bottom of your door can prevent cold air from coming through. If you don’t want to buy a door snake, a rolled-up towel will also do the trick.
Jack White, vice president of technical services at Rainbow International, a company that provides residential and commercial restoration and cleaning services, shared his tips for winterizing the rest of the house:
Removing leaves and other debris from gutters will allow winter rain and melting snow to properly drain. Ice dams can form when gutters and drains clog and can cause water to back up and freeze, which often leads to water seeping into homes. Look for leaks and misaligned pipes in gutters and make sure downspouts are carrying water away from the foundation.
Cutting away tree branches that hang over your house can prevent them from falling and damaging your property when they are weighed down by heavy snow buildup.
Adding insulation to the attic can prevent heat from rising and leaving the home, which forces heating systems to work harder to keep a home warm. Although adding more insulation may cost money upfront, it can save money in the long run.
Filling in cracks in the walls, floors and foundations also can stop heat from escaping your home and prevent water from melting snow from seeping in.