6 Simple Tips to Winterize Your Home

Thermostat at 76 degrees

Fall is a great time to evaluate your home to make sure it’s ready for winter.  Depending on where you live, this may be a critical step to maintaining your comfort while keeping your energy bill in check.  Plus, you’ll want to address any problem areas before it gets too cold to either work on them comfortably or before it’s too late to make a real difference.  So if you’re game, here’s our list of 6 simple tips you can use today in order to better winterize your home.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

There are many different brands on the market you can buy for as little as $40.  You can program it to lower the temperature while you’re out or asleep, potentially saving up to 30% in a properly insulated home.  Smart thermostats are another great option that you can control from afar just by using your smartphone.  An old-fashioned thermostat is the weakest link in conserving home energy!

Change the Filters in Your Furnace

Most American homes these days feature forced air heat.  A dirty filter in your heating system not only does nothing for your indoor air quality, but it also forces your furnace to run longer to make you feel warm.  Invest in pleated filters – they trap more dirt and will keep your indoor air cleaner. Also, remember that humidity in the winter is important to your comfort.  A dry home tends to actually feel colder.  Whole-house humidifiers do a great job, but portable units can help, as well, humidifying up to 800 square feet.

Have Your HVAC System Cleaned and Checked

This is a must!  The service call on average is about $100.  The unit will be cleaned and inspected to make sure it is running at maximum efficiency.  It’s like tuning up a car – you get better mileage when things are running right.  The same holds true for your heating system. Your HVAC technician will likely evaluate the electrical connections and mechanicals, along with and a thorough inspection of your ductwork to determine whether or not a deep clean is necessary.

Add Weather Stripping Around Windows and Doors

This is a project that any homeowner can do that also has a real impact on drafts and conserving energy.  Door thresholds, window caulking, and plastic window film can go a long way in saving you money this winter by minimizing if not eliminating heat loss.  If you live in a drafty home, you could save up to 20% with an investment of $25. Before you head out to the hardware store (or place your online order), take some rough measurements to calculate how much weather-stripping, caulk, or window film you might need.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

When things start to get frosty outside make sure all your outdoor water spigots are turned off from the inside. Also, make sure that you have removed all garden hoses from your spigots.  If you aren’t sure if your spigot is frost proof, use an insulating cap.  These caps lessen the chance that your spigot will freeze and crack.  For only $5, this cap can save you hundreds of dollars in possible repairs from broken water pipes, or even worse, a flooded basement.

Check the Arrangement of Your Furniture

Once you turn up the thermostat, make sure your heating vents aren’t blocked.  Instead of warming the back of your couch, wouldn’t it be better to have that warm air circulating freely in your living room?  If you can completely rearrange your furniture, try using deflectors that can help maximize the ability of the vents to direct heat where you need it.  These are inexpensive and typically use a magnet to keep them in place.