As soon as you feel the nip in the air that presages the onset of fall, you should start thinking about ways to secure your home against the onslaught of winter weather. You might not suffer undue worry when frost is on the ground and the floorboards are cold on your feet in the morning, but when winter winds start to gust and the snow begins to fall, you’d better have some measures in place to seal your home against inclement winter weather. In particular, you’ll want to make sure that the basement is prepared to take the brunt of freezing cold temperatures since all the cold air in your home will sink to the lowest level even as the heat from your furnace rises to warm the upper floors. If you’re wondering just how to prepare your basement for the cruel climes of winter, here are a few tips that should help to keep this portion of your home snug and warm.
- Perform an energy audit. If you’ve never hired a professional energy auditor before, it may be time to call your local power provider to set up an appointment, especially if you’ve had issues with a cold, drafty basement in winters past. This technician will actually do a sweep of your entire home in search of any issues that could be leading to heat loss and temperature fluctuations that result in energy waste. You’ll then receive a report detailing the auditor’s findings, which you can use to improve conditions in your home, regulating the temperature and cutting energy consumption in the process.
- Add weather stripping and sealant as needed. One of the best and easiest ways to ensure that your bought air isn’t heating the outside is to add seasonal weather stripping and sealant. These products can be used around windows, doors, vents, pipes, ductwork, and any other cracks and crevices where air may be leaking between the interior and exterior of your home. And if you have basement windows and a door that leads outside from downstairs, it’s imperative to inspect seals annually to ensure that they’re up to snuff for the winter.
- Purchase storm windows. If you have nothing but single-paned windows and screens for your home, adding a second set of framing and glass to basement windows for the winter will increase insulation significantly, not only helping to keep your downstairs warm and cozy, but also reducing your energy bill. In addition, this extra layer could help to protect interior panes from the ravages of inclement weather, including water, ice, hail, snow buildup, and even strong winds, ensuring that your home remains sealed throughout the season.
- Install new insulation. One of the things an energy auditor can tell you is whether or not your insulation is performing adequately. If it’s outdated or inefficient in the basement area, you might want to think about adding extra fill or replacing it with modern options. Either could help to prepare your basement for winter and lower your energy bills, to boot.
- Clean your ducts. You probably don’t have to clean your ducts every year, especially if you replace your filters frequently. But over time, dust and debris can build up in your ductwork, disrupting the distribution of airflow and potentially leaving your basement without much heat, not to mention shooting dust all over the house every time the heater kicks on. And if your furnace is in the attic, hot air will have trouble reaching the lower level in the best of circumstances. So if you’re wondering how to have a dust free home where the heat you pay for reaches every room, consider having your ducts cleaned and inspected. It could be that you also need to perform repairs to the system or install dampers to push air where you want it to go.