By Monique Conlan
Winterizing your home not only can save you money, but it also helps your home to have a smoother transition from winter to spring by protecting your home from the elements. Damages to your home from winter elements can be very costly!
Let’s take a tour of what to do and how to do it.
#10 Emergency Back-Up
Don’t get caught in a power outage and/or storm without the necessities to get you through it. Nothing is worse than scrounging around the house for batteries, flashlights, and candles. Try to keep these things in one central location for each floor of your house. Whether it’s the kitchen junk drawer, pantry, bathroom, laundry room, or master bedroom. Be sure everyone in the house knows where to locate these items. Be sure to also have canned food and other non-perishables stored for emergencies. A great tip for power outages and storms is to have your camping cooking equipment nearby or at least a propane grill outside. This way if you want a warm meal, you’ve got it! I’ve actually done this a few times in a snow storm with no power and it was actually pretty fun!
If you would rather not deal with your power going out, you can purchase a standby generator for your home or a portable one. Standby generators automatically keep your home going when issues are detected. Portable generators do require you to physically turn them on but you do have options with portable generators: gas powered or solar powered are two of them. Please remember if you have a fuel powered generator DO NOT HAVE IT INSIDE OR NEAR A WINDOW OUTSIDE! These type of generators output carbon monoxide and could poison your home and family, which can be deadly. Solar powered generators are a much safer option and can be brought indoors to power your home.
The Home Depot carries all of these generators ranging in price from:
- Standby Generator-$1,877.00-$30,868.95
- Gas Generator-$119.99-$6,001.00
- Solar Generator-$299.99-$3,249.97
#9 Don’t Forget About Outside
Just as much as you need to be prepared on the inside of your home, you also need to take precautions for the exterior of your home. When inclement weather hits it is good to have a snow shovel, outdoor salt, deicer, and sandbags. Be sure your tree limbs are not sitting on wires and broken branches are cleared from trees as to not fall on your home, cars, wires, and even people during rain, wind, and snow. If you have an A/C unit be sure to remove it from your window and drain any water from it. If you have a portable unit, be sure to drain it as well. For your outdoor stabilized units turn off your shut-off valve, unhook and drain hoses, and drain any reservoir water. Don’t forget to also unhook your outdoor watering hoses and protect your faucets with covers. Another great tip is to check your roof for any damages and while you’re up there, clean your gutters and drain pipes.
#8 Change Furnace Filters
As the cold air is here now, we are using our heat more often. It is important that your filters are clean so they may do their job in preventing the circulation of allergens, dust, and dirt. Not replacing your filters can not only make you sick but can also cause operating issues leading to other issues and possible fires. Filters can be purchased at your local hardware store and are fairly easy to replace yourself.
#7 Lower Water Heater
Lowering your water heater to 120° can save you up to 10% on your bills. Ten-percent may not seem much but over months and years it really can save you money, which you can invest back into your home. This is not something we often think about, but try it out this winter and track your savings.
#6 Run Ceiling Fans In Reverse
Most ceiling fans have a switch you can flip to send your fan in reverse (clockwise). Running your fan clockwise produces a warmer air than counterclockwise, which produces cooler air. Just remember when Spring returns to flip your switch back. If your fan does not run in reverse, forego using your fan may be an option you may wish to consider.
#5 Draft guard Doors
If you find you have drafts coming under your door, you have plenty of options for sealing them up. One creative way is making your own draft stoppers. When making your own draft stoppers you can get as creative as you want and match it to your homes décor. If you are not the DIY type, hardware store like Lowes and most grocers like Fred Meyer have options for you as well.
#4 Seal Air Gaps and Leaks
Not only do you get drafts from your doors but you can also get drafts from windows, outlets, and even where different building materials meet. If you are unsure if these places have drafts you can do the incense test. What is that you ask? Take an incense and light it, then hold it in place in front of potential places for drafts. If a draft is present, your incense smoke will waver and pinpoint your draft location. To seal up your drafts, use the appropriate material for each circumstance.
#3 Insulate Your Windows
We have gone over air gaps and leaks related to window sealings assumed with edges, but you can also get cooler air into your home through your actual window pane. Just like the sun can heat your home through your window pane, it can also cause it to be cooler with the cold air outside. A few great options are thermal shades, curtains, or insulating panels. Bubble wrap is also an alternative and an inexpensive one at that. Bubble wrap can also add a whole new décor to your home if you are up for the look.
#2 Regulate Your Heat
Regulating your heat is a no brainer. If you have a register which can be scheduled, you should turn your heat off or down if you leave your home and back on or up as you return. A good time for the morning is as you are getting ready because your blood flow is warming you up and it will take some time for the home to cool down. A great time for when you return would be about 30 minutes before your arrival. If you do not have a register which can be scheduled you will just do these things manually except you will need to turn your heat back on or up when returning home.
A few more tips for regulating your heat would be to wear a few more layers and/or snuggle up in a cozy blanket, and to close closet doors and doors to unused space. There is no need to warm up space you are not using.
#1 Upgrade to Renewable/Efficient Energy
One of the best ways to winterize your home is to renewable/efficient energy. We discussed a solar generator earlier, but some other options may be solar energy or wind-powered options to regularly power your home. Other energy efficient choices may be water heaters, toilets, electronics, and even light bulbs.
Although I have covered 10 tips, there are an abundance of tips you can research but please be sure you are doing what is best for your home and not what your neighbor is doing or the new best thing. Each home is different and unique and should be treated so. I hope you have enjoyed the time spent reading and look forward to your comments and any questions you may have. Happy Winterizing!