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4 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for the Cold of Winter
Preparing your home for winter will help keep you warmer while boosting your energy efficiency and protecting your investment. And because many of the weatherizing strategies you’re about to see end up paying for themselves, you may end up breaking even or coming out ahead, because heating and cooling tend to make up over 50% of your power bill.
If you want help figuring out where to start, consider getting an energy audit from your utility company. They’ll send out a professional assessor who will use thermal imaging to look for hot and cool spots in your roof, walls, and ceilings.
Here are the main areas to pay attention to as you weatherize your home for the cold months.
1.Insulate Your Attic
Attics are often the biggest source of energy loss in a home, especially if you have an older building. The attic absorbs heat from your living space below and lets it escape the house, forcing your HVAC system to work much harder than it should.
Many homes in our region have either not insulated their attics at all, or have only done a partial job. If that’s you, consider installing insulation in your attic before the cold weather hits.
There are two ways do add insulation to your attic – fiberglass batts and blown-in insulation (also known as loose-fill insulation), which is most often comprised of mineral fibers, though people also use Styrofoam pellets or a cellulose material.
Either of these can be done as a DIY project, although it can get a bit messy. If you are going blow in the material yourself, you can rent the blower machine at one of the hardware stores or local rental place.
Drafty doors make for an uncomfortable living space, and they also make your HVAC system work much harder than it needs to. If you can see light coming through around the exterior 1doors, then cold air get in through as well. To prevent this, install weatherstripping around the door frame.
To handle gaps at the bottom or the door, install a new threshold, which is the plate affixed to the floor underneath the door, or door sweep, which attaches to the door itself. If the gap is large, you may need both.
3.Service Your HVAC System
A well-tuned HVAC system will operate efficiently and reduce your heating costs. There are a few common problems that arise over time that reduce its efficiency.
If you have a furnace, then the first problem to address is the simplest one – change out your air! A clogged air filter makes the system work much harder, which, therefore costs you more to operate, and will wear down the system furnace faster. Some system have a reusable filter that need to be washed every 3-6 month – make sure it’s fully dry before you reinstall it. If your system has disposable filters, you might be able to invest and buy the reusable kind. The disposable filters need to be replaced every 3-6 months.
Servicing your filter by a professional every 1-2 years. This will improve it’s efficiency and extend its life expectancy.
And don’t forge your duct system! You’d be amazed (and disgusted) at how much grime builds up inside your ducts over time. Clean ducts mean you’ll have better air flow, so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard, and it will keep the air in your home healthier.
If you have a mini-split HVAC system, the comparable task is to open up the vaporizer and clean the filter. The vaporizer is the unit installed on the wall inside your house.
4.Water Line Maintenance
The exterior water lines around your home also need to be prepared for the cold. You don’t want a water line to freeze and burst if we have an extended cold spell. Drain your exterior faucets if they’re on separate lines from your interior water lines. Drain your dripline and hoses as well. And be sure to install a faucet cover or freeze cap.
Giving Parents a Confident Second Chance
Some parents who make early mistakes with their kids want to change and do better, but they often lack the confidence as well as the skills.
Dale Allen was one such parent. His daughter Daleionia was born with cocaine in her system. At the time, Dale was homeless, battling drug and alcohol addiction. But he wanted to be a good dad, so he spent two and a half years proving he could be a caring and responsible father to his baby girl. He did this by enrolling in a treatment program and taking parenting classes.
Determined to do right by his daughter, Dale also took two-hour bus rides from South Seattle to Auburn to visit Daleionia at Childhaven. He embraced single fatherhood as a chance to start over. He approached every challenge with patience, persistence and optimism.
“I just wanted to be an awesome dad,” Dale says.
Childhaven greets parents and guardians as invaluable allies, and invites them to get involved by visiting their children’s classrooms, where they can get real-time coaching and gain confidence that they can meet their children’s needs.
When Dale first started visiting his daughter’s classroom, Daleionia kept her distance. Eventually, she got closer, and one day started running to him, squealing, “Daddy!”
Dale, a now-confident father and an alum of Childhaven’s Positive Parenting Program, raves about Childhaven’s supportive and judgment-free approach to working with parents.
“They take the fear out of being a parent,” he says. “Before, I was always afraid of making mistakes.”
Eventually, Dale won full custody of Daleionia, and entered a program with King County where he got to help other parents, and share the lessons he learned so they too could turn their lives around and reunite with their children.
Dale’s story shows why we support Childhaven by donating a portion of the profits from every home we sell. Because the best possible outcome is when kids can remain with their parents and grow up in loving, supportive homes.
Our donations to date for Childhaven!
Your business and referrals help
the kids at Childhaven
Through all of COVID-19 the Childhaven staff continues to care for every child, delivering counseling, developmental therapy, wrap-around
supports, home learning, meals, family meetings, and much more. Every referral you send our way helps the kids at Childhaven, because we donate a substantial portion of our income from every home sale to this amazing organization. If you know anyone considering buying or selling, you have three options:
1. Send an email with your referral’s name, phone and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Call me direct or pass on my number - 206.779.9808
3. Go to our website at Weisbarth.com/refer
2023 Continues On Its Weird Trajectory
For several months, we’ve been reporting on the slow and steady increase in home sale prices, and that you can expect to sell your home quickly and for a good price if you put it on the market. It’s been true, and it continues to be true.
At the same time, the number of homes sold has remained sluggish for several months. Now that the summer buying season is over, it’s becoming clear just how strange this year has been.
Consider the graph, which shows ten years of home sales data for single family homes (SFH) in King County. And, just to be clear, the trends I’m going to discuss are true for other counties in our area.
You can see the annual cycle of activity in the data for ‘Closed Sales’. Notice that, in most of the previous years, the peak market activity took place around late spring or early summer, with about 8,000-9,000 homes sold. It’s a bit harder to find it on the graph, but most of the sales in September totaled about 7,000 homes.
And then there’s 2023.
No, you don’t have to adjust your glasses – that huge drop off is real! The month with the highest number of sales this year, reported only about 5,000 homes. In September, we only had 4,631 homes sold in King County. Overall, about 20% fewer homes have sold this September compared to last September.
And, as we’ve been reporting, throughout all the slow market activity, home prices have pretty much held steady. With such low levels of supply, you’d expect to see a much higher rate of appreciation. This is where the higher interest rates are keeping the appreciation manageable. I think that the real surprise here is just how much demand we still have, despite the high interest rates.
The question is, what will happen once interest rates drop – which, sooner or later, they will do. Will that increase the demand so much that prices will start rising fast again? It certainly sounds plausible. But only time will tell. For now, if you are looking to sell, as long as you price and market your home correctly, you can expect a good price for it.
If you know someone who is looking to sell, we greatly appreciate referrals. Please share this newsletter or our website (www.weisbarth.com) with them, and tell them we have a 5-step system that lays out the plan for selling fast and for the most amount of money. And a good portion of our income then goes to support the kids at Childhaven.