When the cold weather arrives, families tend to spend more time indoors. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize their home is not ready for the cold weather until it knocks on their doorstep. Preparing for the heart of winter by winterizing your home is the best way to cut heating costs, limit drafts and stay warm without wasting money or energy.
It doesn’t take much to winterize your home, and when done properly your home will better withstand the bitter cold and may even offer some relief from cooling costs during the summer months. For a comfortable and efficient home this winter, follow these tips.
Seal cracks and crevices
Cold air can creep in through the cracks and crevices of doors, windows and other openings. Sealing these cracks and openings with weather stripping and caulking will help ensure heat stays inside. It may also be important to install draft guards in gaps under doors to limit heat transfer. After all, you don’t want to be cranking up the heat only for it to escape outdoors.
For older homes, it may be worth replacing doors and windows with storm doors and storm windows for an improved seal against drafts.
Many homes, especially older homes, lack the proper amount of insulation to retain heat and maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home. Consider meeting with a professional and getting an inspection to see if and where insulation upgrades will make a difference. Don’t forget to reinforce the attic with sufficient levels of insulation as well.
Protect your pipes from bursting
Frozen pipes are more than an inconvenience, if they burst they can do a lot of damage to your home. Pipes that run through exterior walls of your home and those that run through uninsulated attics and crawlspaces are at risk for freezing. To help prevent frozen pipes this winter, located and seal cracks and openings in the walls, foundation, attic, basement or crawlspace and seal around crawlspace doors and basement windows. It is also important to insulate pipes in any unheated areas of the home.
If temperatures drop to around 10 degrees Fahrenheit be sure to leave a thin stream of water running from one tap and open cabinet doors under sinks to let warm air reach the pipes. Be sure to move any chemicals or harmful items from beneath the sink so they out of the reach of children.
Prepare for power outages and heavy snow fall
When the heart of the winter season hits, its best to be prepared for a possible blackout and the heavy snowfall that may come. Stock up on batteries, flashlights, candles and other emergency lighting in case of a blackout and always have extra blankets, water and non-perishable food items on hand. Also, be sure to prepare your snow blower or other form of snow removal equipment and check to ensure you have enough fuel on hand. Have deicers and shovels ready so your walkways and driveways are clear and safe.
Lower the thermostat
If you’re trying to save money on heating costs, one of the simplest ways to do so is to lower the temperature on the thermostat by only a few degrees. The rule of thumb is that you can save anywhere from 1 – 3% on your bill for every degree you lower it. If you really want to make an impact, consider installing a smart thermostat that will heat only the rooms you occupy.
Choose the right contractor
If your list of home improvement items seems overwhelming, it may help to consult a contractor who can help you determine which project to tackle first.