Your home is likely the largest single investment you will ever make. It’s doubly smart to take care of your home’s value and save money at the same time. Don’t wait for a problem to surface. Be proactive! Follow these sixteen ways to prepare your home for winter now and you’ll be sitting comfortably come the Holidays.
Top 16 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter
Let’s jump right in!
1. Increase Insulation
This is number one on our list for a reason. Attic insulation is the most important aspect of keeping your home warm during Winter. Most homes don’t have adequate insulation. So you shouldn’t let your home fail this test too! If you need a recommendation for a great contractor, please let me know. I have a big list of great, local companies if you’re not up for the DIY project.
2. Service Your Furnace
Before the furnace is asked to warm the whole house all Winter long, give it a proper tune-up. HVAC experts know what to look for when they’re performing a year checkup. You want to lower your utility bills, right? You want your system to last a long time? Most certainly! Yearly service is the key to both of these. If you’re up for it, here are The Big 3 DIY Furnace Tips.
3. Replace the HVAC Air Filter
This one is a no-brainer. It’s very simple to do and not expensive so there’s no reason not to do it. Just add a reoccurring event to your calendar and you’re halfway there. Smaller filters are supposed to be replaced every month. Larger ones every six months. Don’t forget! Ok, what’s next?
4. Clean Your Air Ducts
While we’re looking at the HVAC, this might be the best time to have your air ducts cleaned. Has a been a long time since their last cleaning? Depending on your system and any health concerns, it’s recommended that your home’s air ducts are cleaned every five years. Unlike changing the air filter, most likely this will be a task for a professional.
5. Install a Programmable Thermostat
With all the new smart house tech, there are a lot of powerful, programmable thermostats now on the market. Experts say these devices can save you a great deal of money. This, of course, depends on what temperatures you choose. Still, there are other many other benefits as well. Check them out!
6. Insulate Your Water Heater
Here’s a quick and inexpensive way to prepare your home for winter. Every homeowner should tackle this one. Insulate your water heater. There, I said it. If yours isn’t… head to your home improvement store today! Trust me, it will be the easiest money you’ve ever saved.
7. Turn Down Your Water Heater
Your water heater is one of the more expensive utility costs in your home. If you’re really looking to save money you can turn it down. But honestly, if you choose to keep those warm toasty showers, no one will blame you.
8. Seal Around Windows and Doors
Before Winter arrives, now is the time to check the caulking around all exterior windows and doors. This item should be on your yearly home maintenance checklist. No one wants bugs inside their home. Sealing these potential entry points saves money on your utility bills and helps keep the bugs out. If they’re already in, here’s some advice on how to remove cockroaches.
9. Plug Any Gaps to Exterior
While you’re walking around your home to seal the windows and doors, look for any other possible gaps. These may occur around items like your dryer’s exterior vent, the sump pump drain pipe, a radon mitigation system, or an HVAC system line. Sealing up any gaps makes your home safer and more energy-efficient. Taking care of this will also help prevent pest intrusion, so it’s doubly smart.
10. Repair Any Roof Problems
I don’t mean to frighten you but gaps may also exist on your roof. These are even more important to repair. Every couple of years, you should have a licensed roofer out to your home to inspect the roof. If you haven’t done this in many years, do it now before any snow or ice comes to infiltrate your roof’s weak spots.
11. Prevent Ice Dams
There’s a lot of damage that can be caused if ice dams form on your home’s gutters. Water intrusion is the biggest problem but it can also break your gutters, or even cause physical harm to anyone nearby if an icicle falls on a person. Didn’t you see Christmas Story? So, make sure your gutters are in proper working order.
12. Install Storm Doors
A storm door simply adds another level of insulation against the outdoor elements. They also add value to the home. When Spring comes, you can also leave the primary door open and use the storm door to let more light into your house.
13. Prepare Your Fireplace
Looking forward to some cozy lounging by your fireplace? Of course, you are! First, make sure it’s in proper working order. If fireplaces aren’t your thing, make sure the flue is closed tightly to keep cold air from entering your home.
14. Seal Attic Air Gaps
Weatherstripping is a wonderful thing. Not only can you use it on exterior doors, but you can also use it for any doors or panels that access your attic. Remember how chilly the attic will be? We don’t want that cold air seeping inside through the gaps around your attic access door.
15. Insulate Exposed Pipes
Check your basement or cellar for any exposed pipes. If you find any, it’s smart to insulate them, especially if they are near an exterior wall. This will save energy (i.e. money) and can help prevent pipes from bursting causing even more serious problems.
16. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
This one is easy to forget, but since you’re learning about ways to prepare your home for winter you’re on top of it. During the cold, winter months set your ceiling fans to run clockwise so the hot air is pushed downward.