How to Prep Your Home for the Winter
Do all you can to safeguard your home from the perils of the winter season we experience here in southwest Missouri.
By Evan Greenberg
It’s an issue people in Springfield face every year—the inevitable, unavoidable slog of winter and all the challenges and problems it presents. Even if you’ve been around it for a while, the weather can be unpredictable, and it’s important to be as prepared as possible as early as possible so that if and when a snow or ice storm hits, you don’t have to worry.
There are preemptive measures you can take in your home to avoid all this stress. We spoke with members of the weatherization team at the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation, or OACAC, to get some tips on what you can do to prep for any potential situation.
Insulation, Insulation, Insulation
The most common word that came up in conversation with OACAC representatives: insulation. “You kind of need to know the level of insulation in your home,” says Allen Lupton, an energy auditor with OACAC. Essentially, heat travels from the bottom up, and you want to capture and use as much of that heat as possible to keep your home efficient and not use more energy than you need to. Lupton suggests at least 10 inches of insulation in the attic to achieve an optimal level of insulation to protect your home from the cold. This is the surest way to prevent damage and heat your home in the most effective way possible. Lots of ice damage on roofs can be caused by lack of insulation in the attic, which is a sort of linchpin room in your preparedness evaluation. The better insulated your attic is, the fewer problems you’ll have.
A lot of the measures you can take in wintertime circle back to efficiency. Lupton has a term he calls “active thermostat management,” which boils down to being vigilant about who is using the thermostat and the settings it’s being set to. This saves energy and prevents overuse.
Lupton also suggests wrapping plastic around the trim of your windows inside the house. That trim is where the most common air leaks occur, and it’s an easy step you can take that goes a long way in keeping the cold out. Another step you can take is using thermal drapes. These drapes block the cold from coming through windows.
Brian Gray is another energy auditor at OACAC, and he offers another important suggestion: wrapping water lines with pipe wrap. Essentially, hot water chases cold water, and cold water chases hot water. By wrapping these pipes, you can ensure that the water stays hot. The practice also combats the cooling effect pipes naturally have. You’ll want to wrap the first 2 feet from the water heater.
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