Get a Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit identifies the areas of your home that are losing energy and what you can do to fix them. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests hiring a professional for a thorough audit, but if you prefer to do it yourself, just be sure to follow the Department of Energy’s advice on what you need to look for.
Fix Drafty Windows
Doors aren’t the only things that allow the cold winter wind into your home. There’s a wide variety of window insulator products including the Duck Window Kit. Your options are endless when it comes to window kits, so make sure to explore them to see which brand is right for you and your home. Remember, if you have a window air conditioner be sure to remove it.
Ditch the Door Draft
When I was little, my brother and I would stay at our grandma’s house while my parents were at work. My grandma’s house was so small that when the wind blew you could hear it and feel it. It didn’t bother her, but the high-pitched whistling scared my brother and me. We were convinced it was a ghost. One particularly harsh winter, she invested in one of those circular stuffed door draft stoppers. Not only did it stop the whistling, it helped keep the heat from escaping. Years later, I was still so impressed with the stopper that I bought a few of them for my own home. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors (they’re much classier now than they were back then!) and they’re reasonably priced. You can find them in-store and online.
Put Your Fireplace to Good Use
I loved having a wood fireplace in my parents’ home so much so that it was an absolute requirement when I was looking to buy my own home. Last winter the weather was so brutal that we had our fireplace constantly stocked and burning. It helps heat the house, we get to burn all the sticks that fall in our yard, and it creates a cozy ambience throughout our home. Prepare your fireplace for the winter months by having it cleaned before the winter starts.
Give Your Furnace a Tune-Up
Have you ever had your furnace give out on the coldest day of the year? I have, and it was an absolutely horrible experience. Little did I know that my furnace frustration could have been avoided with a yearly tune-up. “A furnace tune-up is an extremely effective and easy way to save energy over the winter, and a well-tuned furnace used with a programmable thermostat can cut your utility bills by 30%,” says Dave Moody, Vice President of Marketing for Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.
Adjust Room Vents
I didn’t know I could adjust the flow of air in my house until we had a problem with our air conditioner and a technician brought it to my attention. “Since heat rises, it makes sense to give warm air maximum access to your lower level rooms in the winter and cool air maximum access to the upper rooms in the summer,” says owner of a Homeowner Referral Network, Debra Cohen. “You can accomplish this by closing the HVAC vents in upper rooms and opening them in lower rooms in the winter and doing the opposite in the summer.”
Clean Your Gutters
Leaves, twigs and dirt can pile up in your gutters and get stuck. Clogged gutters can prevent water from running and draining. It’s important to flush your gutters to avoid causing damage to your house. “Water will build up in gutters or run out of gutters and onto the home’s exterior, leading to ice-damming in the winter and moisture damage to roof and soffits,” says Cohen.
A day spent weatherizing your home can save you money in the long run. It’s worth the time and effort to avoid any potential problems when the cold weather hits.
For more information on preparing your home for winter, check out these insulation tips.
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