With cool weather on the way, it’s time to think about seasonal maintenance tasks that can keep your home more comfortable this winter and lower your energy bills all year. Assessing your home to determine which areas are decreasing its energy efficiency and which improvements are cost-effective is called weatherizing.

Hot and cold spots, high utility bills and diminished heating or cooling capacity may indicate a variety of problems with your HVAC system, your air ducts or your home’s insulation. If you’re interested in increasing your home’s efficiency and lowering your energy bills, follow these steps.

Seal and Insulate

Two problems prevent homes from achieving maximum efficiency. The first is cracks or gaps that let cold air inside your home. The second problem is low insulation levels, particularly in attics, which allow warm air to rise up and leave your living spaces. Insulating your attic generally has the greatest cost benefit.

Adding or replacing insulation is a popular improvement in older homes. However, experts recommend caulking cracks and sealing gaps first. Here are a few areas that benefit most from caulking and weatherization.

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Attic vents
  • Dryer vents
  • Utility connections
  • Electric fixtures
  • HVAC ducts and returns

Other Improvements

Insulating your attic and crawlspace can significantly improve energy efficiency. Your basement and foundation might need attention if your floors feel cool or if you’ve had a problem with pipes freezing.

Follow EPA guidelines to see if you need to insulate your attic. The organization recommends that homes should have 10 to 14 inches of an insulating material in and around the rafters. Current building codes suggest that homes in Lake Zurich and northern Illinois use products with an R-Value of 38 or 49.

If you want to reduce your energy costs, remember to invest in seasonal tune-ups for your furnace, boiler or heating system. To learn more about seasonal maintenance requirements, call Martin Enterprises Heating and Cooling at 847-719-8442.