For many Americans, winter brings frigid temperatures and unpredictable weather, both of which can wreak havoc on a home. Getting ready for the colder months means more than stocking up on hot cocoa and wood for the fireplace; you also need to think about the best ways to keep your house safe from the elements without driving up utility bills or creating larger costs down the road.
Fortunately, there are several inexpensive ways you can prepare for winter and even lower your utility bills. The smart thing to do is to go through each room in your home and check out the windows, doors, vents, pipes, and ceiling fans for any signs of disrepair. Don’t worry if you find things that need your attention; there are many easy fixes for most of these issues, and taking care of them now will give you peace of mind and save you a lot of trouble later on.
Here are some of the best tips on winterizing your home.
Reverse your fans
Most homes have ceiling fans in just about every room these days, but not many people use them in the wintertime. What a lot of homeowners may not realize is that reversing your ceiling fan to have it turn the other way can help bring down the electric or gas bill and keep the house toasty at the same time, because it sends all that warm air (which has risen to the ceiling) down. If you’re unsure how to go about doing it with your fans, do a bit of research online according to the brand and model you have.
Check those vents
No matter what type of heat you have, you’ll want to check the vents all around your home to make sure they’re blowing properly and aren’t blocked. Clean them out well–you can unscrew vent covers and give them a good swipe with antibacterial wipes–and look at any filters that are in place to make sure they’re clean, as well. Summer weather leads to lots of air conditioner use, which can in turn lead to moisture, bacteria, and mold around the house. For more on how to check and repair these areas, read on here.
Seal up doors and windows
Changes in outside temperature can really be hard on the doors and windows in your home, as the wood can expand and contract, leading to splits and cracks. Give all the windowpanes and doorframes a look and, if you notice any issues, seal them up with caulk. Large gaps under doors can be fixed with a thick piece of weather stripping and will keep the cold air out…and the warm air in.
Don’t forget about the outside of your home
There may be several areas around the perimeter of your home that could use some help before the weather turns cold, including gutters, patio furniture, any tools you use for the lawn, and the swimming pool. Gutters should be cleaned of any leaves and debris to make room for a wet winter, patio furniture should be packed away for spring, lawn tools should be stored in a shed or garage, and the pool should be covered to protect it from the elements. You can find a huge selection of covers at various price points here.
Keep in mind that some home projects are better left to professionals. While there are easy fixes for many issues, some–like electrical, plumbing, or fireplace/chimney problems–should be handled by people who know what they’re doing. You may have to lay out a bit of money now, but it might save you thousands in repairs later.
Written for Teague Electric by Seth Murphy.