8 Steps to Get Your Home Ready for Winter
Yes, winter is coming, along with all the usual concerns: snow days, dead car batteries, and heating bills. Don’t let staying warm take a huge chunk of change out of your wallet. Homeowners can stay cozy while saving some green even on the most blustery winter days by following these tips.
- Stock up on Furnace Filters. While chugging along this winter, furnaces with dirty filters require increased energy demands to run. Filters should be changed or cleaned at least once month during the season. Better yet–replace with a permanent filter that will trap even more particles than a disposable filter. Run your furnace now to ensure it’s working before the first freeze.
- Winterize Your Water Lines. It’s time to wrap up the garden hoses and stow them away until the first sign of spring green. Turn off water spigots and check for any water leaks around the home. A burst winter pipe can create a huge nightmare. Remember to check and shut off any air conditioner water valves, too.
- Prevent Drafts. Besides causing a cold chill to creep down the back of your neck, a wintery draft wastes precious heating energy. Caulking around windows, doors, corners, chimneys, and any other exit points protects against heat leaks. Check your weather stripping and replace any cracked or broken strips. Add extra protection with a draft snake. Make one with a rolled towel or get crafty by using old fabric scraps filled with sand or cat litter. Consider having a professional install a “low-e” film directly to the window glass for extra efficient windows. Need a cheaper option? Older windows can benefit from an insulation kit or film.
- Install Storm Doors or Windows. Use Energy Star certified models to seal drafts and reduce heat loss while letting in light. Interior storm windows are easier to install and remove than exterior storm windows and require less maintenance. These doors and windows range in material types and life range. Research what type best fits into your budget and priorities.
- Insulate Pipes. In addition to preventing frozen pipes, insulating hot water pipes decreases their heat loss. Hardware stores sell pre-slit foam that can be secured in place with duct tape.
- Replace light bulbs. We know a homeowner that switched out their older light bulbs with energy-saving CFL’s and dropped their electric bill $25-$35 a month instantly. Daylight-simulating or full spectrum bulbs can help beat the winter blues will saving on energy bills.
- Hang up thermal curtains. While they may be more expensive than regular curtains, thermal curtains help prevent drafts and add an extra layer of insulation for energy-sucking windows. Attach drapes to the walls with Velcro or magnetic tape to create a draft-free seal.
- Prepare Your Fireplace. Get ready for chilly days and nights with an annual inspection to sure the chimney is prepared for heavy winter use. Or, if you decide not to use it this winter, seal the openings to prevent winter drafts.
With these measures in place, you can remain toasty all winter long without breaking the bank. Ask the Hooper Home Team for more advice on winterizing steps that entice buyers during the chilliest days of the season.