Are you ready for another frosty, snowy winter? And is your house ready, too?
Now’s a great time to assess what needs to be done to winterize your home, and then putting a plan into action. Here are some tips to get you off to a good start:
- Remove leaves and other tree-related debris from sidewalks, rain spouts and gutters. This can prevent water from backing up and freezing and possibly causing damage.
- Check for deteriorating insulation around windows, doors, attics, garages and other areas and replace as necessary. This includes applying caulking, weatherstripping, roll or foam insulation, window plastic insulation and other materials to create a tighter seal. A drafty home can drive up heating bills.
- If you have them, install storm doors and windows to ward off the cold weather. And if you’re in the market for new doors and windows, consider those that are storm-ready. They may cost a little more, but you’ll realize significant energy savings.
- Place draft snakes under a drafty door. This could be as simple as a rolled bath towel, or there are an assortment of commercial ones for sale, too.
- Take an inventory of snow and ice removal equipment you’ve had in storage and make sure it’s in proper working order and ready to go before that first snow or ice storm.
- Check the home heating system to ensure it’s working properly. If a tune-up or repairs are needed, consider hiring a home heating professional to do the work. They’re prepared both equipment-wise and knowledge-wise to tackle the job.
- On a related note, replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters increase energy demand and restrict air flow.
- Ceiling fans aren’t just for summer months! Most fans have a switch that you can flick to have the blades rotate from counterclockwise to clockwise. The clockwise movement will force downward hot air that accumulates near the ceiling.
- Turn off exterior water spigots and drain and store away gardening hoses.
- Remove and pack away window air conditioner units. And for central air units, shut off the A/C water valve to prevent excess water from collecting in the equipment, and drain all air conditioning pipes.
- If you don’t already have one, consider buying a programmable thermostat. Experts point out that for every degree you lower the thermostat during the heating season, you’ll realize a savings of 1 to 3 percent on your heating bill. At the very least, if you have a traditional thermostat, manually lower the temperature a couple of degrees when you’re not at home or when you go to bed.
- Check duct systems and seal off any leakage. Properly sealed ducts could potentially save hundreds of dollars on heating and cooling costs annually, and can also provide protection from mold and dust.
Follow some or all of these tips and you’ll end up with a home that’s toasty and cozy.