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Getting Ready for Winter

Before cold weather hits, you may want to get weatherization out of the way. It's inevitable. Some of the air you pay to heat is going to end up outside. That's like throwing money out your front door. How much depends on how many leaks, holes and tiny crevasses are throughout your home. Think of the times when you've had plumbers under your house. Often, they have to cut through some boards to get to your plumbing and, unfortunately, some plumbers don't plug the holes when they're done. That's exactly what we found under our house. No wonder the tub in my daughters' bathroom used to always be so cold.

So what can you do about it? For the do-it-yourselfer, your first stop is your local hardware store. You should buy a can or two of spray foam called Great Stuff. It has that name for a reason. It truly is great stuff! Anyone can use it. Follow the directions on the can. You should look for holes in your walls behind the refrigerator, behind your washer and dryer, under sinks, any place where plumbing enters your home. Make sure it's sealed up around the pipes. A little Great Stuff will fill the gaps and keep cold air from seeping into your home and help keep more of your heated air inside. If you're brave, you can also grab a flashlight and check for holes around piping under your home. It's not a pretty job though and can be dangerous. So unless you're a handy man or woman, you may want to leave tightening up your crawlspace to professionals.

Some other great weatherization products are weather stripping and removable caulk. Check around doors and windows and replace any weather stripping that is worn out. Also make sure the bottom of your garage door has a weather strip to seal out drafts. If you have older windows, you can use removable caulk to seal around them and when springtime arrives, simply peel it off.

If you're too busy to do it yourself, you can always have an energy auditor check for leaks in your home and seal them for you. When you have professionals, like Benton Green Energy, do the job, not only do you cut down on draftiness, you also end up with a more energy efficient home that's healthier to live in and costs less to heat or cool. Besides filling the obvious cracks, Benton Green Energy uses infrared cameras to find cold spots that are hard to see. We also go into your attic, evaluate your insulation and seal around the joists and holes that were cut out to install ceiling fans and recessed lighting. Professional weatherization also includes duct sealing. Benton Green Energy can test your duct work for leaks and seal them up too. This is especially important if your duct work is located in the crawlspace under your home. Not only does duct sealing prevent heated air from being blown under your house, it also helps keep mold, mildew and deadly radon gases from entering your duct work and being blown into your home.

Whether you tighten up your house yourself or hire professionals, it will be well worth the time and money spent. Besides saving money on electricity bills, (and let's face it, we all want to do that) you will also reduce your carbon footprint, which helps the environment. Also, don't forget that procrastinating will cost you more this year. Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credits expire January 1, 2011. The materials used to air seal your home qualify for that credit.