When the temperature drops, it’s time to turn your attention to making sure your home is ready for winter. Just like your car, your home needs some preparation for the upcoming frost, too. Here are some tips to help make sure your home is cozy, energy-efficient and safe as Old Man Winter makes his appearance.
Inside your home:
Reverse Your Fans
You might not think about your ceiling fan, but come winter, you should. Turns out, if you switch the direction of the ceiling fan blades to spin clockwise and run on a low speed, you can gently circulate
warm air down from the ceiling.
Maintain Your Chimney
If you have a working fireplace, get your chimney cleaned and inspected by a pro to help decrease the risk of fire from buildup or blockages. These yearly inspections may also help to prevent carbon monoxide intrusion.
Adjust the Temperature on Your Water Heater
While making home adjustments, consider lowering the temperature on your water heater. Most are set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but some households only need a setting of 120 degrees. A lower temperature may also reduce wear and tear on the pipes, and according to the Department of Energy (DOE), save you as much as $30 per year for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit the temperature is lowered.
Tune Up Your Furnace
When it is time to crank up the heat, you want to be sure it’s running properly. Getting an annual tuneup before the system is used daily. If you haven’t already, install a programmable thermostat that can automatically lower the temperature when people aren’t home. You may save as much as 10 percent a year on heating.
This winter, you don’t want cold drafts making their way into your living room. Use weatherstripping, window film and caulk to help control heat loss around doors, windows and baseboards. According to the DOE, a reduction in drafts can save up to 30 percent in energy costs per year. And if your home has storm doors, remove the screens and replace them with the glass.
On the Outside:
Get Your Snow Blower Ready
Give your snow blower a thorough pre-season checkup. Be sure to fill up your blower with fresh gas, unless you have an electric model, and check the tire pressure.
Close Your Pool
Pool season has come to an end, it’s time to clean out any leaves, insects, dirt and other debris, and drain most of the water.
When it’s cold out, pests may seek shelter in a warm home. And, according to PestWorld.org, a mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime. This means you’ll want to seal any holes and cracks (even the tiny ones) around the exterior of your home to help ensure pests can’t get inside.
Avoid a Burst Pipe
Water freezing in your home’s pipes may cause serious problems. To help combat this, shut off the water to exterior faucets and drain the lines. You’ll also want to insulate any pipes near the exterior walls of your home or in unheated areas like a garage.
Prevent Frozen Locks
If you’ve ever been stuck outdoors in below zero weather trying to get inside your warm home, you know the importance of lock de-icer. Spray exterior door locks with powdered-graphite lubricant, which you can buy at your local hardware store, to help keep them from freezing and sticking in extreme cold.
With these winterizing tips, your home may be a little cozier and safer, all while you save some money, too. Be prepared for the chilliest time of year, so you can sit back and watch the snow fall from your warm, winter-ready home.