Preparing your home for winter now will save you money later. Some jobs are simple maintenance, while others require professional repairman. Follow these tips to help protect you and your home from the winter chill and save money.
1. Heating System Check. Before bone-chilling cold weather arrives, have a heating professional do a routine check on your heating system. Replace your air filters and keep them clean during the heating season. Taking these steps will ensure that your furnace is running efficiently and safely.
2. Chimney & Fireplaces. Check to be sure the chimney is free of any leaves, nests, birds or squirrels. Installing a screen or cap over the top will keep debris from getting inside. The flue damper should open and close easily. To make sure the chimney will draw up the fire and simple. check and the draft. To test this, roll up some newspaper and light it in the fireplace. The smoke should rise, if it doesn't you have an obstruction and should call a professional to clean the chimney.
3. Yard & Garden. Begin draining all hoses and sprinklers so they won't freeze or break. Protect your plants by cutting back, almost to the ground, any perennials whose foliage have become lifeless. Remove dead or dying tree limbs to avoid snow or ice build-up which may cause branches to fall and damage to your home.
4. Caulk Around Windows. Warm air can escape and cold air can enter your house if the area around your windows has cracks. Caulking needs to be replaced periodically, and you should check every fall for holes that need to be patched, as well as holes anywhere outside your house.
5. Replace Weatherstripping Around Doors. If you can see light around the edges of your doors, you need new weatherstripping. A small weatherstripping costs you five or six dollars, and it will save you hundreds of dollars in electrical bills.
6. Put up storm windows and doors. If you have older windows and doors, adding storm windows and doors can help considerably. A window insulation film is another option to provide a layer of protection.
7. Add Heavy Drapes and Rugs. Changing light summer drapes for heavy winter drapes was common in earlier times, and it's still helpful, Reagan says. Drapes can keep the room warmer while putting down rugs provides a layer of insulation above the floor.
8. Cover Your Water Heater. You can buy a water heater blanket for around $20 at the hardware store that will keep the tank from losing heat as quickly, saving you money on your heating bill.
9. Lower the Thermostat. It's actually more comfortable to sleep in a colder home, and you can always add more blankets. When you're awake, wear a sweater or sweatshirt to stay comfortable with a lower thermostat setting. This will help you save money on your energy bill.
10. Get an Energy Audit. Many utility companies will provide a free energy audit and give you suggestions on improvements you can make to your home. You can also pay for a more extensive energy audit.
We can connect you with professionals who can assist you with winterizing your home. Give us a call at (410)252-2111.