With the feel of fall in the air, it’s time to think about getting your home ready for colder weather. Much of the routine maintenance that needs to be done this time of year will not only help keep you cozy this winter, it will also save money on your heating bill and protect your biggest investment—your home.
While most of these routine maintenance tasks are fairly simple, make sure they get done before cold weather arrives to prevent damage to both your home and wallet.
To-Do #1: Seal Up Cracks and Gaps
If you added up all the small cracks, gaps, and holes around the outside of the average home, it would equal the area of an open window! To reduce the loss of heat, carefully inspect the perimeter of your home and caulk or weather-strip where needed.
Both caulking and weather stripping can reduce the flow of cold air in and warm air out—lowering your energy costs substantially.
Check the following key areas for leaks:
- Around door and window frames.
- Gaps around electrical outlets, phone lines, and outdoor faucets.
- Around heating and/or cooling units.
- The seal around room air conditioners.
- At corners formed by siding.
- Openings around drain pipes in bathrooms and kitchens.
How to Caulk
Now that you’ve identified the problem areas around your home, it’s time to seal them up:
- Start by cleaning the surface to remove dirt, loose paint, and old caulk.
- Determine which caulk to use based on the size of crack or gap and the surrounding material. Read our article on A Homeowner’s Guide to Caulk to find out more.
- Cut the tip off the tube of caulking at a 45° angle and load it into the caulking gun. Since the tip is tapered, the more you cut off, the wider the bead of caulk.
- Use a long nail or the puncture tool found on caulking guns to break the inner seal.
- Apply a uniform bead of caulk to the gap, making sure it covers both sides and completely fills the crack.
- Remove any excess then smooth the bead of caulk with your finger before it begins to set.
- Insert a tight fitting nail in the end of the tube of caulking to prevent it from drying out.
Click below to continue reading