Preparing for Winter: Information for Homeowners

WVU Extension Service
Agricultural Engineering Specialist

As cold weather approaches, now is a good time to consider "winterizing" homes. Many references are available to assist homeowners in selecting alternative heating sources, maintaining heating systems, installing insulation, and other energy saving practices. This document lists some references available to answer frequently asked questions related to these issues.

Burning Wood and Coal

Burning Wood and Coal (NRAES-23) is a good basic reference for homeowners interested in installing a solid fuels home heating system. This publication addresses relative costs of heating with coal and wood compared with electricity, fuel oil, and natural gas. It discusses fireplaces, stoves, furnaces and boilers. Installation, maintenance, and safety are emphasized. This 89-page reference is available from NRAES or from WVU Cooperative Extension Service for $5.

Home Heating in an Emergency

Home heating emergencies arise from power outages, temporary fuel shortages, or furnace failures. Home Heating in an Emergency (NRAES-9) offers guidelines to prepare for these emergencies. It addresses installation of safe backup heating systems, appraisal of home heating systems, and actions to take in the event of a home heating emergency. This 16-page reference is available from NRAES* or WVU Cooperative Extension Service for $4.

Fact Sheets from the United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Fact Sheet series: "Energy Conservation in the Rural Home"

AFS-2-3-2: Save Heating and Cooling Dollars with Weatherstripping and Caulking
AFS-2-3-6: Weatherize Your Mobile Home to Keep Costs Down, Comfort Up
AFS-2-3-7: Keeping Home Heating and Cooling Equipment in Top Shape
AFS-2-3-8: How to Determine Your Insulation Needs
AFS-2-3-9: Home Management Tips to Cut Heating and Cooling Costs
AFS-2-3-10: How to Install Insulation for Ceilings
AFS-2-3-11: How to Install Insulation for Walls
AFS-2-3-12: How to Install Insulation for the Floor and Basement
AFS-2-3-13: What to Look for in Selecting Insulation
AFS-2-3-14: Why Weatherize Your Home?

Other Sources of Information

The Ohio State University Extension Publications Catalog lists the following subjects related to home heating and energy conservation:

Considering Solar Heat for the Ohio Home and Farm
Earth-Sheltered Housing
Heat Pump
Humidity Moisture Control
Mobile Homes: Reducing Heating/Cooling Bills
Passive Solar Heating
Storm Doors and Windows
Weather Stripping Doors
Weather Stripping Windows
Wind Power for Energy

The Colorado State University Extension Publications Catalog lists the following fact sheets related to home heating and energy conservation:

no. 10.612: Attached solar greenhouses
no. 10.606: Burning wood better
no. 4.653: Caulking cracks and openings in the home
no. 9.511: Energy-conserving window systems: making conventional treatments more efficient
no. 9.530: Energy-wise decorating
no. 9.512: Evaluating energy efficient window treatments/systems
no. 10.620: Figuring the real cost of wood energy
no. 9.724: Heating people using radiant heaters
no. 4.656: Installing storm windows and doors
no. 4.657: Insulating foundations and floors
no. 4.658: Insulating crawl space walls and basement walls
no. 4.659: Insulating an unfinished attic
no. 4.660: Insulating wood frame walls
no. 4.652: Insulation: an energy-saving home improvement
no. 10.616: Locating the solar window
no. 10.614: Proper installation, operation and maintenance of a wood stove
no. 10.605: Residential energy management checklist
no. 10.613: Selecting a wood stove
no. 10.604: Solar domestic water heating system
no. 4.654: Weatherstripping windows
no. 4.655: Weatherstripping doors

Local power generation/utility companies often enclose energy-saving tips with billing materials. Further, larger utility companies employ technical specialists who assist customers with energy efficiency and conservation issues.

Manufacturers of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (also known as HVAC) equipment can advise customers about system efficiency and maintenance. Some even have sites on the World Wide Web (see

* Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service materials may be ordered from:

152 Riley-Robb Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-5701
Phone 607/255-7654
FAX: 607/254-8770
Web site: