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Windows, roofs, doors and insulation…check them now…stay warm all winter

Nov 02, 2017 11:07AM

It’s time for an annual checkup of the four critical parts of your home that will keep you warm and save you money: windows, roofs, door and insulation.  You can do it yourself, or you can hire a professional.   There are pros and cons to each approach, but even a simple do-it-yourself visual and feel inspection is better than nothing at all.

Drafty windows in winter will cost you

You don’t have to be a pro to check for drafts around windows and doors.  For a close inspection for drafts, hold a lighted candle along door and window frames.  On a day with little wind you will be able to detect the slightest drafts.  You can apply the same trick around outlets and vents.  If you detect a draft anywhere other than windows and doors, you should get your insulation checked by a professional. 

If you have old inefficient windows and doors, your best alternative may be replacement.  BEFORE you start shopping windows visit the U.S. Department of Energy website.  Go to https://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-windows.  In about 30 minutes you will be a wiser window shopper.  Use this information to help you make an informed decision about window choice and installer.  The first thing you will discover is that not all windows are the same.  Then, when you start shopping, you will quickly realize that you get what you pay for, especially with windows. 

Insulation upgrade will pay for itself.

Insulation is all about “R-Value.”  According to Dave Mira of D-Wing Construction, most homes in the Fox Valley area are under-insulated. “Upgrading attic insulation is one of the best investments a homeowner can make.  With rebates, tax incentives and energy savings, the entire cost can be recouped in less than a year and a half.”

Insulation in your home provides resistance to heat flow, lowering your heating and cooling costs.  To determine what’s right for your home we recommend this government provided Home Energy Saver Calculator: http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/ courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy. You can find lots of tips online to help you inspect your insulation.  There are also local professionals, like D-Wing construction, who will provide free inspection and analysis.  At least 42% of your utilites bill go to heating and cooling. Even if your home is newer, you will want the peace of mind knowing your entire home is properly insulated.

Don’t wait until spring repair your roof.  Do it now.

It’s not too late in the year yet to check your roof and get it fixed. But time is running out.  You can put off some home repairs indefinitely, but a leaky roof isn't one of them.

The first thing to do is “ground level” visual inspection.  You don’t (and shouldn’t) risk life and limb on a ladder. If you have binoculars, use them.  Look for missing shingles, cracks, curls…anything that doesn’t look normal, especially around vents, skylights, chimneys and eaves and edges.  If you see any sign of damage or wear, it is advisable to call for an inspection by a professional certified roofing contractor. 

The roofing industry is rife with fly-by-night contractors.  When you select a contractor it is very important to check them out.  Pricing can vary widely depending on the contractor.  Materials are based on the square footage of your roof.  The better the quality of material the higher the price.  According to Consumer Reports, labor for a typical 2,300 sq. ft. home can range from $3,500 to $10,000. Read the fine print on your warranty.  Does include material and labor, or just material?

Do your homework. Get three bids.  Check references.  If one bid is extremely low, that’s a red flag, and you might want to throw it out.  There are dependable reputable local roofing companies that you can trust to do the job right.   For more information about the roof on your home, go to www.consumerreports.org/cro/roofing/buying-guide.

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