There are several home maintenance projects that you can perform now that will make your home safer and more energy efficient for the coming fall and winter seasons.
Check for drafts by inserting a dollar bill in the cracks around your windows and doors. If you can fit it in the crack you will know that your heat is going out the window or door and you have an energy loss. Simple do-it-yourself repairs can include caulking or installing a variety of inexpensive door/window insulating strips or simple plastic sheeting.
To check for air leaks throughout the house, turn on all of the exhaust fans in the house (including any kitchen fans that vent outside). Walk through the house with a lit incense stick. The direction of the smoke will alert you to drafts around windows, doors, and other gaps.
Check for dampness in the basement. Wet basements are often the result of something changing. Many times it may be that the gutters have filled up or the downspouts are sending water where it doesn’t belong. Now is the time to clean them out and consider installing downspout extensions to direct water away from your house.
Fall is the time to pick up outdoor extension cords and check all cords for potentially dangerous nicks or frayed spots. One trick to store extension cords neatly in the garage or basement is to wind your cords around a sturdy 10-inch plastic nursery pot fastened securely to the wall with screws and washers.
Old paint should NEVER be stored near the furnace. Look around your heat producing appliances such as the furnace, hot water heater, clothes dryer and remove any flammable materials. You will be removing a fire hazard as you clean up the area.
We get a reminder every month in the mail to change the furnace filter. It’s called an electric bill. Most filters say they last “up to 90 days,” but it pays to change them far more often – even once a month – during the heating season. You will lessen the load on your heating system and improve its efficiency by changing the filter more often.
Try one of all of these easy suggestions to improve your home’s energy efficiency this Fall.
Source: Nebraska Cooperative Extension
For more information contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at (910) 592-7161.