Winter Home Maintenance


In the cold winter months, much of your attention turns to reducing energy costs and making your home more energy-efficient. Unless you have a specially designed, energy efficient home, you can almost always reduce your energy costs and improve your home's comfort level by sealing air leaks and adding insulation.

Here are some easy ways to seal your home and make your rooms more comfortable:

  • In unfinished areas of your basement, seal where the cement meets the wood frame at the top of the basement wall.
  • Seal around windows and door frames. You should use good caulk that will last a long time.
  • Weather strip doors and windows so they close tightly.
  • Seal with spray foam insulation around pipes and wires that pass into your home.

Sealing can't do the job alone

Maximize your home's energy efficiency by improving your insulation, moisture control and allowing proper ventilation. Balancing all these aspects of your home's airflow will create a healthier home and pay for itself quickly, even in a newer home.

Improve the air flow and insulation of your home

The air flow in your home can be the single, most important factor affecting your energy costs, comfort and health. Of course weather factors change that rate, but while your home needs to have adequate ventilation to be healthy, significant, uncontrolled air leakage is the biggest energy waster and does not promote comfortable living. To make your home energy truly efficient while allowing it to ventilate at the proper level may require hiring an energy analyst. They will use particular diagnostic tools to assess your air leakage.

If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, you first need to find out where your home isn't - but should be insulated, the type of insulation you have, the R-value and the depth of that insulation. Good places to check first are the garage, basement, crawlspaces and attics. You can inspect the exterior walls using an electrical outlet (refer to safety procedures and more details regarding this on a Web site such as

If you have a newer home, the insulation may be found on the outside foundation or basement walls. You may have to contact the original builder to determine if this type of insulation was used.

If you decide you need to add insulation anywhere in your home, make sure you select the proper R-value and the type of insulation necessary. A further explanation of this can be found on You can even use a calculator on this site to find out your payback period for adding insulation and the potential cost.

Ask your REALTOR to send you HWA's additional energy saving ideas with more on air sealing and insulating.

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