Top Home Improvement Projects for the Fall
The month of October is full of autumn joys like Halloween preparations, rust-colored leaves, crisp cool air, and the perfect time to lightning the fireplace and making hot cocoa. As you’re appreciating all that this season has to offer, make sure you’re taking care of important maintenance work around your home. Fall is the perfect time to complete your home’s exterior maintenance and button up your house for the winter —you’ll be grateful to have taken some of these steps now when lower energy costs kick in during the winter.
1. Attic Insulation
According to Angie’s List, whether you live in a cold or hot climate, the most important area in your home to keep the heat where you want it is your home’s attic floor. This fully insulated “buffer zone” between the external elements and your heated home will not only help keep heat energy where you want it and preserve the home from water leaks in general, but it will also help you save on energy costs.
In addition to keeping your home’s temperature comfortable, insulation also serves as an energy-efficient moisture and mold prevention as it helps keep the house temperature average. In a properly insulated home there is no cold or heat seeping into or leaking out of the home to dramatically change its temperature.
In areas with high humidity, insulation ensures that excessive moisture does not leak into the house. Mold spores are usually anywhere moisture and high humidity is available. It only takes a little moisture for spores to germinate and mold to grow and produce thousands of new spores.
Attic insulation averages are broad, between $350 and $1,750 - but it will save homeowners on future energy bills and prevent costly repairs due to excessive moisture and mold. With PACE financing you may be able to cover 100% of the cost to properly insulate your home to keep your home’s temperature comfortable and protect it from excessive moisture and mold. Click here to request more information.
2. Windows and Doors
If at the moment you are unable to replace your windows and doors with more energy-efficient ones, try these helpful tips. Poorly sealed windows are generally the culprit for higher heating and cooling bills. Air escaping from a drafty window not only makes the room temperature uncomfortable, but it also increases your energy bill. To identify air leaks in your windows, hold a tissue near the window frame on a windy or cold day and if it flutters then there’s a leak.
To temporarily fix drafts, Popular Mechanics recommends using non-expanding spray foam to fill the gaps between the window or door and the framing if you can easily remove the trim. If you can't remove the window's or door’s trim, caulk around the trim's inside and outside edges. Apply rubber, vinyl, metal, or foam weather-stripping around the moving parts of doors and windows.
Consider adding interior storm windows during the winter months. Storm windows serve as an extra layer of insulation and attach directly to the window frame to reduce air leaks. You may be able to use PACE financing to cover 100% of the cost to replace drafty windows and doors with more energy-efficient ones or install storm windows. Click here to request more information.
Sealing a few common leakages, even if your exterior walls are not insulated, can make a big difference. Popular Mechanics recommends removing baseboards and filling gaps with nonexpanding foam. Add insulating pads beneath cover plates on outlets and switches. Seal wall penetrations routed to the outside--pipes, dryer vent ducts, cable, and phone lines--with caulk or spray foam both inside and out.
You should be able to find most of the supplies you'll need to seal your house at your local home improvement and hardware stores. If you have trouble finding what you need, check in with Resource Conservation Technology and Energy Federation Incorporated, both are respected energy-efficient housing product distributors.
Sealing around the slab, basement or crawl space will help keep cool air from entering into your home during winter and escaping during the summer. Popular Mechanics recommends that to focus your efforts, for better results, on the space where the first floor's framing meets the foundation slab. Use spray foam insulation for larger gaps, or where pipes and wiring emerge through the wall. For smaller gaps, use caulk.
- Switch the direction of your ceiling fan clockwise to recirculate the warm air near the ceiling
- Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney
- Test your smoke detector’s batteries and replace them accordingly
- Plant bulbs for tulips and daffodils for a beautiful garden come spring