When the temperature starts to drop, you likely take steps to get yourself ready. You might make sure you have a coat and hat that fit and are in good condition, check that your car tires are in suitable shape to get through ice and snow, and dig out your ice scraper and shovel. It only makes sense that you should prepare your home for cold weather, too.
Winterizing your home can go smoothly if you have the right checklist. Use the tips below to get your home ready for cold weather. If done right, you might even save some money on heating costs along the way.
Caulk Around the Windows
Winterizing your windows keeps cold air from seeping in through the cracks. Use caulk to make sure your windows are closed tight and no cold air will creep in. You can also insulate windows with plastic available at your local hardware store.
Check the Furnace Filter and Get a Furnace Checkup
Fresh filters improve the performance of your furnace and keep it working for a longer time. Check the filters packaging for the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding how often the filter should be changed. In general, the wider the width of your filter, the less often you have to replace it.
In addition to changing your filter, you should give your furnace a checkup. A clean furnace will function more efficiently and save you money in energy costs. You can sign a contract with many HVAC companies to have them perform an annual inspection.
Change Your Fans to Spin Clockwise
Think ceiling fans are only for summer? Switching your fans to run clockwise during the winter can actually save energy. They send the hot air that rises back down, circulating it and keeping the temperature mild, which can reduce how often your furnace runs and lower costs
Close Off Unused Rooms
Many homes have rooms that are only used occasionally or sometimes not at all, such as a study or guest bedroom. If you don’t have anyone in the room, don’t heat it. Insulate the windows in the room as well as around the door.
If you have baseboard heat, turn it off in the unused room, if you’re able. If you have forced heat, however, don’t close off air vents in the room. While this may seem like a good move, doing so could make your centralized heating system less efficient. Finally, if you’re closing off a room, put a draft guard outside the door to stop any cold air from coming out into the heated areas.
Get Your Chimney Swept
Many people use their fireplaces to keep warm all winter. Cleaning out your chimney creates greater efficiency and also decreases the accumulation of creosote, which can cause fires. Getting your chimney cleaned can also remove small blockages that could cause smoke to back up and compromise the air quality in your home.
Drain Outdoor Water Faucets and Fixtures
If you have a water spigot, irrigation system, or water feature in your yard, it’s important to prepare these fixtures for winter, as well. Winterizing these systems protects them against water accumulating and freezing in pipes, potentially causing them to burst or cause other issues come spring. Shut off the water supply to these fixtures and drain them of any remaining water. Purchase appropriate coverings that will protect them during icy, snowy weather.
Winter Energy-Saving Tips
Even with a properly winterized home, energy costs can skyrocket in the winter as you turn up the thermostat to keep warm inside. Use these ideas to reduce your heating costs — and make your home greener, too:
- Turn down your thermostat. While you may feel comfortable at 72° Fahrenheit, many times you’ll be just as cozy if you throw on a sweatshirt and adjust the thermostat a few degrees.
- Get a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat can further regulate temperature and save you from paying for heat when no one’s at home. You can program the thermostat to decrease during the day and increase when family members get home from work or school. Plus, the thermostat adjusts to your schedule over time, finding new ways to make your heating usage more efficient. Some utility companies even offer rebates for consumers who purchase these thermostats, making them more affordable.
You can get through this winter without seeing a huge spike in energy costs when you winterize your home properly and take steps to reduce energy consumption. For more tips on saving money, visit our WalletWorks page.