PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As many as two-thirds of American homes are under-insulated, which means higher energy costs and less comfort for millions of homeowners.
With winter on its way, now’s the time to take action with your insulation and with other small, but essential projects.READ MORE: 'In Your House, What's Your Plan?:' NWS Meteorologist Stresses Safety As Frequency Of Tornadoes Increases
As daylight dwindles and the mercury drops, one of the first things to do to prepare for the seasonal change is to check your insulation. If you can see the wood beams in your attic, it’s time to add more.
Another key to keeping cold air out is finding out how it’s getting in.
“The first sign of cold is a great time to check the seals around your windows and doors, and an easy, do-it-yourself way to do that is to take a candle around in front of the windows lit and if it flickers, then you probably have a draft that needs attention,” Angie Hicks, Angie’s List Founder, said.
Caulking cracks is an easy task with the right tools.
“Don’t go cheap on a caulk gun because then you’ll have a caulk gun that stays triggered and then it continues to spread the caulk, so don’t get any real cheap caulk gun. Get one that works really well,” handyman David Price said.READ MORE: Republicans In Pennsylvania And Other States Using Ballot Initiatives To Change Election Laws
This is also when you need to make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris. Get your chimney checked and swept; service your furnace and change the filter; and show some love to your water heater.
“Many homeowners don’t think about their water heater until it goes out and they get a cold shower, but there is some simple maintenance you can do that can really increase the efficiency of your water heater. Simply by draining the water heater once a year, you can increase its efficiency by 50 percent,” Hicks said.
And don’t forget about all the equipment you’ve been using all summer, especially your lawn mower.
“Fuel is the biggest issue on storage of the mower over the winter time. Either run it out of fuel and store it completely empty or stabilize the fuel and store it full,” Chris Arvin, a lawn maintenance professional, said.
If you decide to use a fuel stabilizer, Hicks suggests mixing it in the gas can first and then pouring it in the mower to make sure you use the right amount. If you have a riding mower, she recommends removing and storing the battery until springtime.
One final tip: get a roof inspection. Finding and repairing minor damage now could save you big bucks after a long, harsh winter.MORE NEWS: Rep. Mike Kelly Facing Scrutiny Over Stocks Purchases By The Congressman And His Wife