Winter is here, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. You can, however, complete a few simple tasks now that will prolong the life of your home and even save money on the energy bills in the process. Fall is the best time of year to get your home ready for winter, so let’s look at some easy ways to prepare for the cold to come.
Cold weather is becoming more apparent as we speak, so it is important to focus your winter prep on the exterior of your home before it is too late!
Clean out the gutters: Although it may not be the first thing you want to do, cleaning your gutters before winter prevents ice dams from forming when leftover debris and water freeze in low temps. Once they become a problem, ice dams can eventually lead to water seeping back into your home. Being proactive with cleaning your gutters in the winter is an easy way to prevent costly damage in the future.
Seal air leaks with caulk: The Department of Energy says that caulking leaks that are letting drafts in the home can end up resulting in an overall energy savings of 10%-20% for your household.
Prep the yard and put away outdoor accessories: It is a good idea to cover outside furniture or bring it inside if you have space. Fall is also the perfect time to lay the groundwork for a lush green lawn in the spring. Aerate and seed the lawn around October. Then apply fertilizer in November. When May rolls around, your neighbors will be green with envy (but not as green as your lawn).
Winterize your sprinkler system: If you own one, now would be the time to winterize your sprinkler system before the threat of frozen pipes and clogged valves becomes an issue. HomeAdvisor’s “True Cost Guide” estimates this service to cost between $52-$111 from a professional so you don’t have to worry about ruining your budget.
Insulate air ducts and hot water pipes: insulating air ducts and hot water pipes throughout the home is one of the most efficient ways to prevent energy loss. The Department of Energy tells us that a home with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the HVAC system. It also pays energy dividends to wrap those hot water pipes with fiberglass insulation, a procedure that takes only a few hours and costs as little as $50 to complete. This video even shows you how.
Seal air leaks in windows and doors: If you have drafty windows or doors, the best thing you can do is purchase all-new replacements to fix the problem. However, this option may not be feasible for many reasons. Instead, you can squeeze a few more years from your aging fenestrations by adding weatherstripping to leaky areas. At a cost of $5 to $10 per roll, this is a smart and easy way to save energy.
Add a sweep to your busiest doors: If you’re losing warm air from the bottom of a door, weatherstripping may not be enough to help. For less than $20, you can install a draft guard that will help close those gaps and keep the heat inside. If you’re ready to replace your less efficient door with a newer model, you’re just a few clicks away from a lifetime of warmth.
Close the fireplace damper: If you have a fireplace, be sure to close the damper before cold weather arrives. If you don’t plan on using your fireplace throughout the season, you can add a chimney balloon for an extra layer of energy-saving security.
Test fire and carbon monoxide detectors: While you should test your fire and carbon monoxide detectors year-round, most house fires occur in the winter. It’s smart to check the batteries and functionality of your detectors to be sure they’re working correctly in their most important season. And if you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, get one.
Set ceiling fans to a clockwise direction: If you’ve never changed your fan’s direction before, get ready to be blown away. Flipping the switch found near the motor of most units will change the direction that your fan spins. A clockwise direction in colder months will help push warmer air from the ceiling back into the heart of the room. Just make sure to flip the switch back to a counterclockwise spin in the spring to continue saving energy year-round.
Add a programmable thermostat: Many of us have seen those fancy thermostats that seem like they would be unnecessary in the average home. But as it turns out, not only do they look cool, they can save up to $180 a year on your energy bills too. Once installed, program setback periods into your system that automatically lower the temperature when you’re asleep or away at work. A little planning, in the beginning, can turn into considerable savings down the road.
When it comes to winterizing your home, it’s never a bad idea to trust the pros. If you’re in need of home maintenance tips and tricks, head over to our Inspiration section.
With Window World of Joliet windows, your home will have a fresh, energy-efficient, low-maintenance solution backed by a lifetime warranty.* Request a free estimate online or call (815) 729-3100 to schedule an appointment and start saving on your energy bills today!
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