I know with this heat it can be hard to imagine, but fall is coming (it can’t come soon!). When I think of autumn, there is a sense of excitement that takes hold of me. I love this season for many reasons, mainly because it has pleasant climate, what it brings. It’s funny, living in Texas, you can definitely tell when the season change from summer to fall, as people begin to crawl out of your air conditioning, the cracks, finally, enjoy the outside world.
Changes in weather not only brings people outside, but also makes certain information, such as home improvement projects easy. It is a good time to do any project that you have been putting off because of the blazing heat. In addition to addressing some of these deferred projects, it is also a good time to start preparing your home for the colder season to come. After a brutal summer, I know it is hard to imagine that preparing your home for the winter, but there are some projects that you can do in the fall that will help protect your home during the winter. Some can even save you money.
Below are five fall projects to prepare your home for winter:
Seal The Leaks. As I have mentioned before, sealing leaks in your home can lower your Texas electricity bill during the summer months. Air conditioning, air escapes through any crack or leak in doors, windows, etc, what a waste of money. This is the same problem when you are heating your home. The air leakage can be responsible for up to 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling of a house. Luckily sealing these leaks can be fairly easy do-it-yourself project. According to the ehow.com here is what you need to do for these projects:
Window leaks You need to protect your windows to fill the leaks. They recommend the use of a 3M window insulation kit. They are a little more expensive, but they are the best on the market and have a higher quality plastic and tape that will last until spring.
Gaps around doors and windows Use exterior caulk to fill in all the gaps around doors and windows. To close all the gaps from the inside you can use a inner seal that comes in strips. Just measure the length and the width of the side of the door to see how much material you need.
Insulate Your Water Heater. An item that increases your gas or electricity bill during the cooler months is your hot water heater. A good way to reduce your use is to use a water heater blanket or pre-cut jacket. These will make your water heater more efficient so your water stays warmer for longer. They are priced between r $ 10,00 to r $ 20,00, and are quick and easy to install. Just make sure to look for ones that have an insulating value of at least R-8. Note: this method will not help if your water heater tank has a high R-value of insulation, which is at least a rating of R-24. If you can’t tell that the fuel tank is in the list, tap it, and if it is hot to touch then it needs a blanket.
Insulate The Attic. From my own experience, this is a great way to reduce your energy costs during the hot summer months. We applied ten inches of insulation in our attic and on our next bill we saw a big difference. With the addition of insulation, you not only save during the warmer months, but you can save money in the colder months. According to an article in the AssociatedContent.com , [f]or about thirty dollars, you can buy a sheet of insulation and apply it to what is already in the attic, which can save you hundreds of dollars before spring. One thing to note is that each house varies in relation to the amount of insulation needed to see savings. Many older homes, for example, has less insulation than the homes built today. Thus, they can see a big savings compared with a more current one built in the house.
Trim Trees and Shrubs. If you are out and about in nature, this is a good project for you. In addition to promoting plant health and growth, trimming of trees it is necessary to remove any broken or dead limbs. This is important, because they can come loose and cause damage during a winter storm. Now, if you are as clueless as me about which tools to use, here is some information to help.
Hand-pruner This is a good garden tool which can be used for cutting bushes, hedges, stems, ornamental trees, etc, A good rule of thumb is that these should only be used for cutting wood less than one inch in diameter.
The pruning-saw This can cut branches over three inches in diameter. Its robust and has a simple handle.
Lopper This is meant to cut branches too thick for a hand pruner and too thin for a hand saw.
Some wise words: if it seems to be too much of a project for you, call the professionals. It is much easier and cheaper to do that than to end up in the hospital.
Prevent the Pipes from Freezing. For those of you who live in places where it freezes, a good fall project would be to wrap your pipes. You can do this pretty cheap and does not require a lot of work. Just measure the pipe length, purchase pipe insulation (tubes of foam that fits around each pipe) and wrap them around the tubes. This will help to keep the pipes warm and will make them less likely to freeze. If you would like to take it a step further, for pipes that run along the outer walls, you can install fiberglass insulation between the wall and the pipe which will add more protection from the cold. An easier alternative to fiberglass insulation is to wrap pipes that run along exterior walls with electrical heating tape. (Warning because using heat tape is essentially wrapping an electrical wire around your water pipes, it is very important to read the instructions and warnings in order to check that it is properly installed). This is a great way to keep your pipes from freezing, because it is controlled by a thermostat which switches on and off to keep the heat in around the pipes. the
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