Winterize your home for big savings

Man Installs InsulationHomeowners can waste hundreds of dollars each year if they haven’t prepared their homes for winter.

Heating accounts for 41 percent of the average Missouri home’s annual energy use, but according to the EPA, you can reduce your energy billby up to 20 percent by making improvements to retain heated air and keep cold air out. (These modifications will also lower cooling costs in the summer!).

To winterize your home, try the following tips.

  • Seal air leaks. Use caulk to seal cracks less than a quarter-inch wide. Leaks are commonly found at the chimney shaft, attic and foundation. For cracks between moving components — such as windows and doors — use weather stripping.
  • Add insulation. Unfinished walls, floors and ceilings can be insulated using easy-to-install blanket insulation. When buying insulation, look for a high R value for greater resistance to heat movement. Learn more about insulating an attic with the professionals from This Old House.
  • Reinforce windows. Installing exterior storm windows can prevent air movement through the window. For windows that are not often opened, taping a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet to the inside of the window is an easy way to reduce drafts and still let in light.
  • Seal ducts. On average, about 20 percent of the air that moves through the ductwork seeps out through leaks in the system. On exposed ducts, tape up leaks with heat-resistant foil tape. Find leaks by running your hand close to the duct while the furnace is running to feel for moving air.
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