Making sure your house is ready to take on the coming winter can save you loads of money on your energy bill by eliminating wasted energy. With these tips, your house will be able to better conserve heat, keep out the cold, avoid costly damages and lower your overall energy costs.
Proper insulation is always the first step to winterizing a home as the more insulated your house is, the less energy lost and therefore the less energy used. The first place heat will try to escape will be through your attic; you need to make sure you have about 9 inches of insulation in your attic in order to assure proper heat trapping. Though it can be messy, adding more insulation to your attic is a relatively cheap purchase and will save you money in the long run.
The second place heat will try to escape is through your windows and doors, or places with cracks and holes air can pass through. You can counter this by installing storm windows in your house or by attempting to plug the gaps with caulking and/or weather stripping. A good tip is to keep your curtains or blinds closed as the heat will escape through the glass. If your window faces the sun you can harness the sun’s own power and use that as an auxiliary means of adding some additional heat. You can also switch the direction of your fans, making them turn clockwise, in order to keep the hot air closer to the ground.
Pipes and spigots also need insulation as the cold can turn the water inside them into ice and cause splits or bursts. Go through your house, especially areas that may not have insulation such as furnace rooms, crawlspaces, unfinished basements and any outdoor areas that may have gas or water pipes used for grilling or irrigation. A simple foam sleeve will usually suffice to protect these pipes throughout the winter.
Clear your gutters. A cluttered gutter means blockage and buildup of water and snow, which can turn into ice and cause damage in the way of busted drains or, worse, leaks and mold inside your roof. Usually one good cleansing towards the end of fall will be enough to mitigate the winter damage.
For added energy savings, shut off the vents to rooms that aren’t being used in the winter. You may also want to lower your thermostat when you leave the house for extended periods of time; just make sure that you don’t lower it too much or you could risk bursting a pipe.
Follow these steps and you’ll follow winter into spring with a few extra bucks in your wallet.
About the Author: Mike Zook has been writing about energy efficient home solutions for nearly a decade.