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 LANDOVER, Md., Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 40 million homes in the United States are inadequately protected against winter and summer weather. These homes are poorly caulked and weatherstripped or, more importantly, have poor insulation in their ceilings, walls and floors. If they were effectively protected, the savings would come to nearly a fifth of the money spent for home heating and cooling every year.
 The good news is that winterizing projects are not difficult, and most homeowners can do them themselves, given the proper tools and guidance. Below, Hechinger Company, the Landover-based home improvement retailer, offers the following tips for winterizing your home this year.
 A prime fuel saver is the systematic caulking of cracks and gaps that result in infiltration of cold air from the outside.
 According the Hechinger expert Jerry Brase, homeowners should never attempt to save money by buying a cut rate caulking compound unless they are certain of its quality. Hechinger carries a full line of caulking products, and even the very best compound is relatively inexpensive.
 Where to Caulk
 Most caulking is done outside a house, though basements and attics sometimes have air gaps that can be best caulked from the inside. Cracks behind baseboards are another place where cold air can seep into a home. These are easily caulked from the inside of the house. Just remove the baseboard and caulk away!
 According to Brase, exterior points that usually benefit from caulking include the joints of: window frames and door frames with the siding of the house; foundations and siding; corner trim and siding; roof eaves and siding; and the chimney-siding joint and around pipes or wires that extend from inside the house to the outside. Any other crack, gap or joint that is a source of air or water infiltration or heat loss also is a candidate for sealing.
 Special Situations
 In general, caulking compound is best for sealing relatively small cracks. If a crack is more than about 3/8-inch wide, Brase advises using another type of material, such as urethane foam sealers. If the crack is narrow but deep, fill it nearly to the surface by packing it with felt weatherstripping, oakum, rope or similar material, then caulk.
 Before applying new caulking compound, scrape away any old caulk that is not adhering tightly. Also wipe away any dust and loose dirt from the area to be caulked.
 Probably the most important step to good caulking is selecting the right compound. Your choices include:
 -- Latex and acrylic-latex. These range from poor to superior, and they have the advantage of cleanup with water if smears are made, and paintability after a short period. Latex caulks are tough, but not particularly flexible, so they are not suitable for caulking wood and metal joints or metal-masonry joints.
 -- Silicone. These generally offer good flexibility and adhesion and long wear. They can't be painted, but some brands are available in colors so that no painting is necessary.
 -- Siliconized latex. This is a good combination that combines some of the best features of both latex and silicone products. Most are paintable and can be cleaned up with water.
 -- Butyl or polyurethane rubber. These caulks have superior flexibility and are usually priced somewhere between latex and silicone. They are excellent for caulking dissimilar materials.
 A specialist at your local Hechinger store can help you choose the right type of compound for your project.
 Weatherstripping your home for the cold weather is a great fuel saver which will save you money. Weatherstripping cracks around doors and windows alone can reduce heating costs by up to 30 percent. The following simple test will help you determine your weatherstripping needs.
 The Night Light Test
 To find out how snug and well-fitting your exterior doors are, have someone stand outside after dark and shine a strong flashlight all around the edges of the door. Wherever you can see any light seeping in, that's where the winter winds will enter.
 There are several ways to overcome this problem. Hechinger carries weatherstripping sets for doors which, nailed around the sides and top of exterior doors, not only stop the draft but also cushion the door to prevent slammming. They are especially good for older homes, since they can compensate for warped jambs or sagging doors. They come in a variety of materials, colors and finishes.
 Secondly, you can also cut the drafts with self-stick weatherstrip tapes of plastic, foam or rubber or by using nail-on strips and gaskets of felt, vinyl, rubber or metal. All come with easy-to-follow instructions right on the package and include any needed installation fasteners.
 The Special Delivery Test
 The area underneath your exterior doors can be a major problem spot. An easy way to check is by taking a sheet of stiff paper and seeing whether you can slip it under the door when it's closed. If you can, your entryway needs help. You may want to install a new door threshold which will not only seal the opening but can improve the appearance, too. Your neighborhood Hechinger carries many different styles, colors and finishes.
 Door bottoms are also fairly easy to install. Most just have to be screwed in place to seal the opening. The can be adjusted to compensate for uneven doors or floors.
 One of the keys to energy efficiency and comfort throughout the winter is proper insulation. Ensuring that your home is effectively insulated means first making sure that all of the key areas of your home have insulation and then determining if your existing insulation is sufficient.
 When to Insulate a House
 The overall rule for insulating a house is simple. Insulation should be present at any surface separating living space from unheated areas, since that's where heat loss occurs. All exterior walls should be insulated. Any wall between a heated room and an unheated area, such as a garage, utility room or open porch, also demands insulation, as do floors separating living space from such unheated areas.
 Evaluating Existing Insulation
 Before you can determine if your existing insulation is sufficient, you must find out how much and what kind of insulation your home already has. A good place to start your evaluation survey is in unfinished areas, such as attics, basements, crawlspaces and garages. If there is insulation in these areas, it will be visible between joists, beams and studs. Insulation inside finished walls can often be checked through existing openings. The most convenient of these are switches and receptacles; just take off the faceplates and look in.
 Winter Insulation Projects
 -- Wrap your pipes to protect them from freezing and to ensure less temperature loss in the transportation of hot water.
 -- Wrap your water heater to reduce energy usage.
 -- Wrap your duct work so that the air travelling all the way to your bedroom at the far end of the house will be warm when its gets there.
 -- Insulate your crawlspace. This will greatly reduce heat loss and result in warmer floors.
 -- Insulate basement walls. This will not only provide a warmer atmosphere but will also create a vapor barrier.
 Hechinger carries a wide selection of high quality, project- specific insulation materials, including Reflectix, Celotex and Owens-Corning products. Your Hechinger specialist can help you choose the right products for you.
 Other Winterizing Projects
 There are many other large and small ways you can prepare your home for the winter and slash your energy bills. For example, storm windows and storm doors are a must. Investing in them is a very affordable way to keep the heat in your home all winter. Investing in them is a very affordable way to keep the heat in your home all winter. Hechinger carries a wide selection of name-brand windows and doors of various colors, sizes and finishes, and also offers customers numerous installation options, including replacement and storm windows as well as storm and custom doors.
 To find out about these products and to learn about other winterizing projects, visit your local Hechinger store. The time to winterize your home is now. Your Hechinger specialists can help you determine which projects are most important for your home and then pick the right materials.
 -0- 11/11/92
 /NOTE: Reflectix is a trademark./
 /CONTACT: Laurie Betz for Hechinger, 410-234-2418/ CO: Hechinger Company ST: Maryland IN: SU:

KD-TW -- DCFNS1 -- 9563 11/11/92 07:31 EST
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 11, 1992

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