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Winter is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start preparing your home for the cold months ahead. When you winterize your home now, you can prevent heat loss, save money on energy bills and prevent costly damages.
Banish the cold and keep your home nice and toasty this season and winterize your home before Jack Frost arrives.
1. Clean Gutters
Prevent ice dams in your gutters by climbing up to the roof and clearing them out before the first snowfall. Remove dead leaves, sticks and other debris from the roof and gutters and install snow guards. Doing so will prevent clogging, leaks, flooding and damage to your gutters and roof even when the snow comes down hard.
2. Store Patio Furniture
Winter can wreak havoc on your comfy outdoor furniture. Ice and snow can stain teak, fabric and other materials, while snow and ice can rust metal and cause woven seats to deteriorate. Before the temperature drops too low, bring your furniture inside and store it in a shed or garage. Remember to bring your grill and other cookout supplies inside as well to prevent any damage.
3. Caulk Cracks
One of the simplest ways to winterize your home and keep it warm all season long is to caulk cracks. Look for open seams around the house’s exterior and feel for drafty spots around doors and windows. Then, use acrylic latex caulk to seal them. For extra protection, caulk both the inside and outside and remove moldings to fill gaps in the insulation. If the space around your windows still feels cold, invest in insulated storm windows.
4. Protect Pipes
When temperatures plummet, pipes within your home can freeze and even burst, causing floods and thousands of dollars worth of property damage. To prevent a costly mess, wrap metal pipes in insulation. Pipe insulation only costs about 50 cents per linear foot and will keep your pipes running, even when temperatures drop way below freezing. If you worry insulation may not be enough, let water drip from your faucets and open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors.
5. Replace HVAC Filters
Improve your heater’s efficiency by replacing the HVAC filter before you have to turn on the heat. If you have multiple pets, you should be changing the filter about every three months. However, if you didn’t use your AC often this past summer, you may be able to wait to replace it for another month or so. Pull the filter out and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see through it, it’s time to get a new one.
6. Reverse Ceiling Fans
During the summer, you likely set your ceiling fans to spin counterclockwise. This setting pushes hot air upwards and cold air down towards the floor to keep you cooler. However, during the winter, you want the opposite effect. Switch your fans to spin in a clockwise direction to send heat downwards. This simple fix will keep your chilly fingers off the thermostat so you can save money on energy bills this winter.
7. Add Insulation
Adding insulation to your attic may not be the cheapest option to keep your home warm. However, it is the most effective way to reduce your energy consumption and prevent heat from escaping your home. Aim for insulation 10 to 14 inches deep and caulk all ceiling penetrations, including holes around pipes, ducts and wires. Remember to place insulation over the attic hatchway as well to keep lower levels warm.
8. Install Gaskets
A surprising amount of cold air can seep into your home through your electrical outlets. At the same time, heat from within your home can escape through them as well. Place a lit match in front of outlets. If the flame flickers, you may have a drafty outlet. In this case, remove the outlet cover plate, press a foam-rubber gasket over the outlet and replace the cover. Alternatively, you can use a non-expanding latex foam to seal them up.
Energy Savings Assessment
Before those chillier months arrive, call your local energy provider and request a meter reading and energy savings assessment. Often, a representative will come out and inspect your meter for free. Then, they can recommend specific changes to increase your home’s energy efficiency. They might also have a few expert tips to save you money so, if this service is free for you, take advantage of it!