Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Preparing for the cold…

Fall is perhaps the most beautiful season in New England. And by fortune or luck, this fall is gradually leading to the inevitable winter. This prolonged furlough from steamy days where we have had nice, moderate temperatures will inevitably be filled with 3 months of ridiculous cold. So knowing that winter will stop by, here is your official winter preparedness memo. Now is the time to spend your weekends and a little bit of money towards saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in your heating bill.

Airflow is the biggest contributor to heat loss and wasted money. Rhode Island has an amazing assortment of historic and traditional building, with over 80% of our buildings built before 1980. While the designs can be awesome, these houses were built without modern efficiency in mind. Many traditional designs provided for natural cooling and fast and intense heat, but old school ideas of comfort differ from today. Today’s high fuel costs prevent us from cranking the heat, and incentives towards energy efficiency encourage us to use less.

Age is not problem with most building parts, more often than not it is the assembly. Traditional, old, historic single pane windows can be equally efficient to a modern double glazed window. The key is the window or door assembly’s ability to prevent airflow and trap air.

You can insulate all you want in the basement or attic, but airflow will find its way through. So fill and seal the big gaps and holes when you insulate. The best insulating practices save you money and keep your house and the occupant’s healthy. Go to the US Department of Energy’s website for great tips.

But how can we spend little to save a lot? Here are some things you can do.

Storm windows should seal air. Close your storm windows completely. If the glass is broken, take the single glass frame to a glass shop for repair. Screw them in if they are loose. Caulk the frame to prevent airflow, leaving weep holes on the bottom for a water escape route.

Lock your windows. If the lock is broken or missing, bring the broken or matching piece to the hardware store to match it.

A quick way to prevent airflow is the plastic film over the interior of the window.

Replace missing or broken weather stripping. Most hardware, lumber suppliers, or even the window/door manufacturer can get you new weather stripping. An 1/8” gap around a door is a 3” square hole.

Install new weather stripping. We like a silicone bulb that goes into a groove we make. Or you can apply peal and stick door weather stripping. I am not a fan it since it is messy to replace, but if it does the job who cares? Buy a few different thicknesses, since not every door is the same.

Fix your lockset so the doors seals when it closes.

Install a door sweep; get a door sock, or some other bottom door seal contraption. Some are better than others and some don’t work everywhere. Take a close up picture of the door bottom before your go to that hardware store or lumberyard for advice.

Seal unused doors and other openings with 6 mil plastic, a blanket or other wind and cold resistors. I do that with my basement interior bulkhead door.

Tune up your furnace it saves money.

Clean you chimney flue, it’s cheaper than burning your house down.

Close rooms you don’t use. You can adjust the amount of heat the room gets by closing vents or louvers. Keep the door closed.

Programmable thermostat. Keep the variable to about 5-8 degrees, depending on your heating system’s and house’s recovery rate. It can take more energy to raise the temperature dramatically than if you kept the temperature close together.

Clean your ducts, blow out the dust from your baseboard or radiators, and DON”T paint steam radiators (it actually insulates the radiator, making them throw less heat).

Install foam backer rod in gaps and holes. It’s the modern day rolled up newspaper.

If you don’t have to time or the expertise to complete these money saving tips, reach out to those who know. After all, time is running out.

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