Home improvements that help save energy year-round

Want to save more of your hard-earned paycheck? Conduct a quick home improvement checkup to look for potential maintenance needs that can help you save energy year-round."Take time now to inspect your home for potentially energy-wasting areas," said Kathy Krafka Harkema, spokesperson for Pella Windows and Doors. "Check major systems that help protect your house – the roof, gutters, siding, exterior finish, windows, doors, foundation and steps, plus interior components like heating, cooling, chimney and electrical systems."

Look for obvious signs of deterioration, damage or potential problems, Krafka Harkema advised. Replace or repair worn or broken items before they can lead to more extensive or expensive repair needs, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

These tips from Kiplinger also may help lower utility bills: tune up your heating system, reverse your ceiling fans to create an updraft that pushes heated air down into the room, help prevent ice dams by increasing attic insulation and repair missing or damaged shingles.

Increase curb appeal

One quick way to help improve energy efficiency and curb appeal is to install a new Energy Star-qualified entry door or storm door. Pella's new low-maintenance entry doors offer many styles designed for virtually any budget.

"Fiberglass entry door systems offer the look of a wood-grain door but with the energy efficiency, and durability and low-maintenance of fiberglass," said Steve Brenizer, Pella product marketing manager.

Look for Pella Architect Series wood-grain fiberglass entry doors for exceptional energy efficiency. Or consider Encompass by Pella entry doors for popular energy-saving features and style options at a competitive price.

"Choose a factory prefinished entry door for a consistent look and to save your precious time," Brenizer says.

Inspect windows, doors

When checking your home's windows and doors, inspect interior and exterior finishes around them. Is the paint or stain in good condition? Signs of flaking and peeling or water stains may mean that it's time to refinish or replace the unit.

Next, check windowsills and tracks for dirt and debris like sand, leaves, insects or pine needles. Open windows and doors to clean out the area with a soft brush like a dry paintbrush. Debris can hamper the airtight effectiveness and overall performance of doors and windows.

"Look at the weather stripping around doors and windows, reattach loose pieces, and replace those that are ripped to help enhance your home's energy efficiency," Krafka Harkema said.

Finally, feel for uneven sliding or sticking when you open and close a window. Try using a non-oily lubricant, like paraffin wax, on opposing finishes to help it move easier.

Read more about energy-efficient windows and doors.

Topics: Energy Star, Windows

Companies: Pella Corporation

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