AUSTIN (KXAN) - Temperatures have already dipped to the freezing mark in the Central Texas on a few mornings this fall, and there will be more as winter approaches.
This is a good time to seal up your home and reduce how much energy you use, and waste.
"The measures that you might use to save your heat are the same that you'd use to save your cool," said Lance Pearson, social services program manager.
At a recent job in northeast Austin, the crew has tackled everything from a brand new furnace and insulation to replacing the windows.
"If it's going to be a major project, contact a reputable weatherization company and have a complete audit done on your home," said Pearson. "The audit can then get you a detailed estimate of best places to spend your money."
If large projects aren't in your future, there are small changes that will reduce your energy consumption.
"Caulking around the windows above and around can be very important for saving energy in the home especially large gaps you'll find underneath the sills," said Pearson. "Those areas can be filled in with spray foam."
Pearson says solar screens on windows are also an inexpensive fix.
Indoors, caulk along the baseboards, fill in cracks in the woodwork and use jam-ups on the doorframes. Door sweeps are a good way to seal the bottom of the door.
"This is much better than your foam tape products," said Pearson. "The foam tape tends to fall off after a short period of time and on a door that's going to be used regularly this is a much better product."
Other tips; look into a programmable thermostat and a new refrigerator. You may not think of the fridge when winterizing your home, but it may be wasting a lot of energy if it's more than 10 years old. Look for an energy star brand.
Also, check your chimney.
"Make sure that flue is shut," said Pearson. "Many folks will find they lit that fire last Christmas open the flue and it's still open the next Christmas. That's just an open pathway for air to leave your home."
The last step Housing Services does on their projects is to run a blower door. It's a fan that depressurizes the house so they can get a reading on how "leaky" the house is.
"For instance on this home we started with an initial blower door reading of 2400, we've now got it down to 1400," said Pearson. "That's a 1000 cfm reduction in the amount of air that's passing through this home."
Lance says weatherizing your own home could save you around 20 percent on your energy bills this winter.
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