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3 Things Every Homeowner Should Check

Florida homes face special circumstances from the environment. Where our northern counterparts have the four seasons they go through and need to be concerned about heat escaping in the winter. Floridians have to worry about our cool, conditioned air getting out. So even though you may not be putting storm windows on in the fall, you should still take a walk around your home and check the condition of your windows, caulking and weatherstripping. 

One of the easiest ways to get a good home energy audit for free is by contacting your local power company. Most of them will send a representative to your home with a whole list of things they check on for you. Or, because of covid, they can do phone appointments and walk you through everything and keeping you safe from covid at the same time. Again, for free. You can then use that list as a “Hunny Do” list or your own personal DIY list on what needs repairing. 

The 3 things you need to check annually are:

  • Weatherstripping
  • Caulking
  • Insulating

 

Weatherstripping

One of the easiest things to address is worn weatherstripping. If you haven’t replaced your weatherstripping in the last 5 years or so I’d be willing to bet you have areas in your home that need replacing right now. 

Weatherstripping is that fuzzy or rubbery stuff found where doors or windows have a seal against another surface. It is all around the inside of doors and windows where the surfaces meet. It is what makes a good seal to prevent your conditioned air from escaping. 

You can tell real easy if weatherstripping needs replacing. Either you can see light around your exterior doors or coming in from under them. Or you can feel a draft around doors or windows when they are closed. One of the easiest ways to detect drafts is with a candle. Just light it and go around the edges of your doors and windows. If it starts flickering and jumping from an air current, you know you have a leak. 

The fix is pretty easy. In most cases you’ll want to get the same sized weatherstripping that is there. The most important part of this is prep. It always is on every project. If you do the prep work right, the rest goes easy. 

First, remove the old weatherstripping and any adhesive or dirt where it was stuck. Making sure that surface where you will need to stick the glue side of the weatherstripping is super clean is the key to a good adhesion of your new glue. No oils at all should be on that, nothing. Just a nice clean surface.

Then you just open up your package of weatherstripping and, leaving the protection on the glue, cut it to length. Then peel the glue protection off on one end about a foot back. Stick the end in a corner is a good starting place and peel the covering as you go and stick the new glue in the old glue spot. Rinse and repeat everywhere you need it. 


 

Caulking

This step is a lot more involved. It will require some basic tools but it is well worth the effort to protect your home from water leaks, cooling leaks and mold and mildew. 

For this one you will need to go around and physically inspect your windows. You should see a nice, clean, uncompromised bead of caulk that goes all the way around the window where it meets the house. There should be no gaps or seal breaks. If there are, it is time to re-caulk. 

You will need some good caulk and a caulk gun. They are real cheap. Like less than $10. And a painters multi-tool is real nice to have. A stiff brush and a can of compressed air is helpful if  you have one around for your electronics. 

First thing you do is remove all of the old caulk. Don’t leave any in thinking it will save you time or that part looks good. Just scrape and cut it all out. Then, just like the weatherstripping, before you put it on you need to do the best you can to clean all the surfaces. If you have vinyl windows use a cleaner on the frames. If you have a brick or stucco house you need the stiff brush to clean off the bricks or stucco. Do not use a wire brush. It may damage your walls or windows. For a final clean, just take a quick blast of air around the whole window or door to get any loose debris cleared. 

Then just apply your caulk and let it set. Watch the video for tips on this part. There is a bit of a skill to it so it is better observed. 


 

Insulation

The third and final is the most labor intensive and may not be a DIY project for all homeowners. You may want to call in an expert to do the work on this one. But you can be informed and educated so you know you are getting the job done right and at the right price. 

In your attic you should have insulation. If you don’t then man, are you going to see a huge change in your electric bill. The insulation you have should completely fill the area between the ceiling joists. Or the long boards that run in the attic that make up your ceiling. If the insulation isn’t at least to the tops and overflowing, you can use more insulation. 

This is a really hot and dirty job. There are really 3 kinds of insulation to consider.

  • Loose fill that is blown in. 
  • Rolls of fibreglass 
  • Sheets of foam board

Sometimes combinations can serve you best. You can consult your home improvement store expert on some ideas. Here is a video that can help you learn more. 

Weatherization Financial Assistance – there is even financial assistance for people that need it to help get your home weatherized. Follow this link to LEARN MORE



We are excited to inform you that we have moved to a new location! Our new address is: Home Performance Alliance 11399 16th Court N, Ste 100 St Pete, Florida 33716. We thank you for your continued support.

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