Last winter’s icy temperatures and sky-high heating costs may be the last things on your mind during the dog days of summer. But with fall fast approaching, it’s time to look ahead and prepare your home for cold weather. Making a few small improvements now can pay off big when it comes to your family’s comfort — and they can save you a substantial amount of money, too. Simple upgrades like home sealing and adding attic insulation can reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent.

Home Sealing Strategies

Air infiltration not only causes uncomfortable drafts but also forces your heating system to work overtime. At Ray’s Heating and Air Conditioning, we recommend the following strategies for sealing any leaks, gaps or cracks in your building envelope.

  • Weatherstrip Drafty Doors and Windows. A 1/8-inch gap under your front door may not seem significant, but it can let as much cold air enter your home as a 2 1/2-inch hole in the wall.
  • Seal Gaps Around Conduits. Use caulk to seal cracks and gaps around utility conduits that pass through exterior walls, including plumbing, gas, cable and phone lines.
  • Plug Up the Gaps. Spray foam sealant is perfect for plugging up larger cracks around baseboards or your home’s foundation.
  • Insulate Switch Plates. Install inexpensive foam gaskets behind electric outlets and switch plates.
  • Use a Chimney Balloon. An inflatable chimney balloon made from durable plastic will keep your fireplace flue airtight when it’s not in use.

Boost Your Attic Insulation’s R-Value

How well your attic insulation resists the flow of heat is measured by R-values. The greater the R-value, the better the insulation. However, a study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the average R-value for home attics in northern states is just R-15. That’s less than half of the R-38 that the agency recommends as a minimum level for those living in cold-weather regions. Depending on the type of material used, you’ll need about 10 to 14 inches of insulation to keep the cold of an Illinois winter at bay.

HVAC Energy Savings

A well-sealed home with adequate insulation saves you money by allowing your heater to run less often during with winter. Ensuring that your system operates at peak efficiency is important, too. Autumn is the ideal time to schedule preventive maintenance services to make sure your heater won’t waste your hard-earned dollars in the months ahead.

At Ray’s Heating and Air Conditioning, we know that you’d rather save up for that dream vacation next summer than spend your cash on an emergency repair on a cold winter morning. We’re pleased to make our regular tune-ups, repairs and installations even more affordable with ongoing specials. To learn more or to schedule service, contact Ray’s Heating and Air Conditioning today.

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