Weatherization tips for the coming winter

November 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

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If you haven’t already prepared your home for the colder winter months, this is a good time to figure out what you need to do to winterize your house in order to keep snug and warm for the upcoming seasonal changes, and Jim Apperson, owner of Apperson Energy and Management, has some straightforward commonsense recommendations.

Apperson started in construction in the late ’60s in Southern California working for his brother, who owned a remodeling company where he soon became a job supervisor. He came up to Ukiah in the mid-’70s as a general contractor to find the field flooded with capable peers and so became involved in the ZIP program that involved PGE giving no interest loans to people to help them insulate their homes; no one else was doing it so it gave him a niche that has become very meaningful for him.

He says, “Saving energy is a big deal. Somehow we have to figure out how to use less energy, not only in this community but in the entire country, as well. Most of the energy we use is produced by fossil fuels, natural gas or coal (which is also highly polluting), and there is only a finite supply. Somehow we have to develop a plan to use less, and energy conservation is the best way to go.”

At the top of the list he suggests to use this time as a semi-annual reason to change your furnace filter and to pull off the floor registers and vacuum the area around the ducts. If you see dirt or insects not from the house, there is probably a leak in the


It is also important to see if you have any exposed water pipes that need to be insulated so they don’t freeze during those exceptionally cold nights. Foam pipe-wrap products are available or you can use a specially made electrical wire that can be stretched along the pipes and then plugged in.

Make sure leaves and debris are out of your gutters and down spouts. If water is allowed to run over the edges of the house and get under the house it will create problems. Water under the house can cause structural damage to the sub floor and as it evaporates up into your house it raises the humidity and makes you feel colder.

If you have recently installed floor insulation, the water pipes are under the insulation and no longer able to pick the heat up from the house to keep them from freezing. So it is important to make sure they are insulated.

Apperson says, “Since houses are getting tighter, more airtight since people are doing a lot more weather stripping, it is essential to install a carbon monoxide detector. You can get them at any building supply store and they are easy to install. Since houses are closed up more in the winter, back drafts are more likely to incur from appliances such as stoves, gas water heaters or gas furnaces, which brings more carbon monoxide into the house instead of outside.”

If you have a swamp cooler, you need to drain the pan and drain lines or they could freeze. Put a cover on the cooler or otherwise the wind can blow through the pads on the side and into your house. The rain will come through as well and fill the pan, potentially creating mold problems.

It is important to adjust your weather stripping around your doors as they change shape in the winter. If you buy the good kind of weather stripping that mounts with screws and has an adjustment slot, you can adjust for winter and summer placements

People are burning their lights more in wintertime, and incandescents will soon be obsolete, he says. “We are slowly going from incandescents to CFLs. A mandate that passed in January of last year insured that 75-watt incandescents will no longer be manufactured and as of January, 2013, there will no longer be 40-60 incandescents manufactured; this effectively bans all of them. Australia, Ireland and Cuba have banned them completely. The CFLs are improving. Originally not everyone liked them; when they were first imported 25 years ago the wattage equivalency was off; it was lower than they claimed. The color of light was at a low Kelvin temperature, giving off a brownish light so with these two factors, basically people weren’t able to see. Now, however, if you buy a 23 watt CFL with a Kelvin rating of between 4-5 thousand, it will be very close to a 100 watt incandescent.

Cover your pool, turn off its heater and turn off your sprinkler systems. If you are not going to use your fireplace, close off the damper as the heat escapes up the flue. If it still leaks, a chimney balloon is available that blocks the heat loss going up the chimney.

Take a look in your attic; you should have 10 inches of insulation there. Check and see if you have wall insulation. There are utility sponsored programs that will help you get attic and wall insulation, windows and new furnaces, with loans and rebates available.

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