Winterizing Your Property

Dec 1, 2012

Consider preparing your property for winter to lower energy costs, increase comfort in cold months, and possibly improve resale value. The three main updates to focus on for the winter are the windows, exterior and furnace.

Adding energy-efficient vinyl windows to the home can have an average payback of more than 69 percent. Vinyl replacement windows offer a higher return on investment than wood replacement windows and also have a higher projected return on investment than many other home improvement projects.

Exterior replacement projects retained the most value in home improvements. For example, updating and replacing fiber-cement siding returned 78 percent of homeowners’ original investment.

A furnace doesn’t just provide heat and comfort during cold months, but proactively tuning or replacing a home’s furnace can alleviate issues when considering resale. According to Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 18 years.

Homeowners can also make these updates to see a more immediate saving in energy bills:

Clean the gutters – remove leaves and debris so rain and melting snow can drain, preventing backed up water or ice that can clog drains and allow water to seep into the house;

Add insulation – most homes need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in the attic, regardless of climate conditions;

Check the ducts – ensure ducts are not exposed and are well-connected. Otherwise, homes with central heating can lose up to 60 percent of heated air before it reaches the vents, according to the U.S. Department of Energy;

Keep drafts out of windows – if replacing windows isn’t in the budget this winter, insulating them with plastic and double-sided tape is extremely effective and much less expensive;

Tune the furnace – cleaning and serving a furnace annually can increase efficiency and the life of the furnace. Check the furnace now to make sure it does not produce a smell, which will require attention before continuous running in the winter.

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