When winter arrives, are you left scrambling to do things around your home to prepare for winter?
Chances are you are not alone. Many people put off winterizing their home and would rather spend their days out Christmas shopping, sitting on the couch watching football or curled up with a book next to the fireplace.
Winterizing your home is a necessity that comes every year and it's been estimated that approximately 50 percent of most household utility bills goes towards heating and cooling your house. It is better to be prepared for the cold weather and save money on heating your house.
Here are some tips for winterizing your home.
- Inspect your furnace and heating system. Have a professional ensure that your heating system is running efficiently and safely. Systems based on gas and oil could potentially release dangerous levels of carbon monoxide that can result in death.
- Find and fix air leaks. Worn or damaged weather-stripping can cause heat to escape. Locate sources of air leaks around doors and windows, install new weather-stripping, caulk around windows and where plumbing / ducting creates a path to the outside. Do not forget to caulk around the exterior electrical outlets as well.
- Inspect your windows. Windows let light in but also provide a path for the greatest loss of heat from your home. If your windows are older you can install storm windows over single-pane glass or heavy plastic on the inside. This will prevent heat from escaping. You may also want to invest in a set of insulated drapes.
- Clean the eaves trough and gutters. Leaves and dirt may have collected through the autumn months. This can cause water to build up which can form ice dams in winter. This can result in serious water damage to your roof and shingles if left unattended before the freezing temperatures arrive.
- Close the fireplace flue. If you have a fireplace keep in mind the chimneys are designed to suck air upwards. This can carry large amounts of heat out of your house quickly. Ensure the flue is closed when the fireplace is not in use and seal those that will not be used in the winter months.
- Wrap your pipes near exterior walls. Pipes near exterior walls or those in crawl spaces have the highest risk of freezing during those cold winter months. Wrapping those pipes with insulation provides added protection and can prevent major damage should the pipes freeze and burst throughout the winter months.
Winterizing your home is a necessity and while it can help minimize troubles through those frost filled nights, it is always recommended to be prepared for the unexpected. Invest in an emergency kit capable of providing you with water, food, candles, batteries and flashlights to get you through several nights should there be a power outage. Ensure you have a supply of salt and sand on hand, as well as a shovel and a backup heating source.
Being prepared and taking the necessary steps at winterizing your home can save not only money, but your lives.