You can do you own home inspection to discover areas that may be robbing your home of efficient energy usage and increasing your winter heating bills, and perform minor DIY repairs that will cut winter energy costs. Home improvement stores like Lowe’s not only have the needed materials to make your home more energy efficient and lower you winter energy costs, but also offer DIY ‘how to’ instructional workshops.
Start your home inspection by grabbing a pair of binoculars and heading outside to inspect your home’s roof. Look for missing shingles, cracked roof tiles, loose chimney flashing and any other cracks or openings that would permit air or rain water to leak in.
If you have a chimney, use a strong flashlight to look up inside of the chimney. Look for creosote build up, bird’s nests or any other obstruction that presents a fire hazard. Creosote build-up removal is best left to the professional chimney sweep (it’s DIY mess) but other obstructions like a bird’s nest is usually easy to remove with a yard rake. If you utilize the services of chimney sweep for creosote removal, have them install a screen over the top of your chimney to block the entrance of birds in the future.
Inspect all your doors and windows for gaps that allow the cold air to seep in and the warm air to seep out. A simple way to do this part of the home inspection is to wait until after dark, have one person with a flash light go outside and shine the flashlight around the perimeters of each door and window while another person is indoors watching. If the person indoors sees any light shining through, you have gaps that are increasing your winter energy costs. Use weather striping to fill in the gaps and cut winter energy costs.
Inspect the pilot light flame on your gas furnace. The flame should be clear blue and steady. If it’s any other color, sluggish or goes out, call your utility company.
Heated air inside the home during winter is dry, and there needs to be moisture added to the air for health reasons and overall air comfort. To test the humidity level in your home, place ice cubes in a glass of room temperature water and let it set. If the humidity level is good in your home, beads of water will form on the outside of the glass within 5-15 minutes. If no water beads form, the air inside your home is too dry. Increasing the humidity of indoor air is a simple DIY project, you can invest in a home humidifier or you can simply place a few bowls of water throughout the house in inconspicuous locations, or use pretty bowls filled with floating candles or floating flowers and incorporate them into your interior decor. A pot of simmering water on the cook stove, wood stove or hanging in the fireplace will add moisture to your home. If you have houseplants, mist them regularly to increase your plant’s health and the humidity level inside your home.
Doing your own home inspection can alert you to problems that may be costing you money each month in addition energy usage. A few DIY fixes can cut winter energy costs.