Written by Brad Crawford
We may enjoy mild weather for most of the winter, but when those chilly winds and freezing rains do hit, the low temperatures can really run up the heating bills. Installing a high-efficiency furnace or heat pump is one of the most effective ways to cut heating costs, but there are also a few simple, low-cost home improvement jobs that will help keep your Dallas-Fort Worth home warm and do it affordably.
- Seal air leaks – Air leaks waste heated air and cause uncomfortable drafts. To identify leaks, hold a lit incense stick or smoke pen up to leak-prone areas on a breezy day. These areas include window and door frames, baseboards, and penetrations for wiring, plumbing and vents. You can seal many of these leaks yourself using weatherstripping, caulk or expanding spray foam. For optimal air sealing, consult a professional who has the equipment needed to detect all points of air leakage.
- Boost ductwork efficiency – In the typical home with forced-air heating and cooling, the ductwork wastes around 30 percent of the air it carries. Take a look at the ductwork in your attic and crawl spaces. Are the duct joints properly aligned, secured with sheet metal screws (or bands for flex-duct), and sealed with mastic? If not, thorough duct sealing could go a long way toward keeping your Dallas-Fort Worth home warm for less.
- Improve your insulation – In our mild climate, it’s not uncommon to find homes with too little insulation. In North Texas, the minimum recommended level of attic insulation is R38, which is around 12 inches of fiberglass batt insulation or slightly less cellulose insulation. If your attic insulation doesn’t measure up, consider upgrading your insulation.
While you can do some of these jobs yourself, consulting a pro for a home energy audit will help you more accurately detect energy-loss issues and correct them in the most cost-effective way. Keep in mind these improvements also will help you reduce your cooling costs.
For more expert guidance on keeping your Dallas-Fort Worth area home warm, please contact us at Crawford Services, Inc. We provide high-quality, value-driven HVAC solutions throughout the area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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