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Preparing the home for winter

25 September 2010

By: Andrew Imig, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Winter is coming and most people are looking for simple and inexpensive ways to reduce their energy costs this year.

FDLTCC works closely with the Fond du Lac Reservation housing construction crews to help implement building science into ongoing work with local homes. This partnership will result in lower energy cost for occupants while increasing comfort levels in the homes. I have assembled a couple of easy tasks that can help reduce energy loss from a house while improving overall comfort.

First, clean the window sealing areas on the windows. Many times bugs and dirt build up in the sealing area of the homes windows. If the weather gets cold and the window is not properly latched, flies and Japanese beetles will hide in the seal area and later, when the window is latched, the bugs will cause seal leaks which allow cold air to enter the house. Wash the seals and the window contact points using warm water and mild detergent. Use a rag that you don’t mind getting really dirty. After the windows are dry and clean latch the windows for the winter. This will help insure proper seal contact and it can prevent air leakage and ice build up on some windows.

Next, insure that the furnace filter is clean and the correct size for the furnace. The furnace filter is commonly found in a covered slot in between the furnace and the return ducting. There are often arrows on the furnace filter to help install the filter correctly. This is the number one forced air inefficiency in high heating demand climates. Replace the filter once a month to insure maximum furnace performance.

Dirty Filter

These and other tips are often covered during an energy audit. FDLTCC has just started a Building Performance program that is teaching people how to use building science to test and improve residential homes. In February the first two courses were introduced in Minnesota. Currently, FDLTCC is training other instructors and colleges around the state to teach the same building science principles. FDLTCC is also working closely with the Fond du Lac Reservation housing construction crews to help implement the building science into their ongoing work with local homes.

I hope these tips help you prepare for the upcoming winter.

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