5 Tips on Winterizing Your Home
The first dusting of snow has fallen, signifying the unofficial start of winter in the Valley. Cold weather is seemingly here to stay. However, it’s not too late to save money and stay warm all season by getting your home ready for winter! Here are 5 tips on winterizing your home:
1. Clean Your Gutters
Now that Fall is over, you have likely been left with a piles of leaves sitting in your yard and clogging your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage in warmer months. In the winter, the backed up water will freeze, causing ice dams and damage to your gutters. If left ignored, ice dams will slowly melt and seep into your home, which can cause serious damage to your walls, ceilings and insulation. Cleaning the gutters, especially in icy conditions, can be very dangerous, so make sure to hire a professional!
According to the Department of Energy, the potential energy savings from reducing drafts is 10%-20%. The best way to reduce drafts is to make sure your home is well insulated. Assess your doors and windows, as well as possible cracks or gaps in your foundation. Weatherstripping and caulk can be effective in repairing drafts, but winterizing your home may be worth investing in insulated doors and windows. Installing storm doors and windows can greatly reduce drafts as well as provide ventilation in the summer. Ask your contractor for advice on insulating your home and tips on finding and installing new fixtures!
3. Get Your Heating System Ready
Making sure your heating system is in great working order is an essential step to winterizing your home. Clean or change the filters in your furnace and check your tank levels if you are using oil heat. Burn creosote logs to reduce the chance of a chimney fire, but make sure to also get your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected.
4. Lower Your Thermostat and Water Heater
Lowering your thermostat by 1 degree each week to acclimate to lower temperatures and save on heating costs. According to the Department of Energy, reducing the heat by one degree for a prolonged period (7-8 hours) can save up to 1% on your energy bill. Aim to set your thermostat between 68 -70 degrees during the day when you are home and between 62-66 degrees at night when you are asleep.
Turning down the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees is another way to save on energy cost. Consider making the switch to a tankless water heater, which produces hot water on demand, saving money and energy.
5. Protect Your Patio and Outdoor Plants
Cold weather can be damaging to patio furniture, outdoor grills and potted plants. Protect your belongings by cleaning off dirt and rust and then covering with a heavy-duty weatherproof cover. Patio and deck surfaces should also be cleaned in preparation for the winter. Contact your local contractor for advice on the best products to use when cleaning your deck or patio.
Protect your potted plants from the cold by transitioning them indoors for the winter. Moving plants suddenly to a different environment can shock them, so ease them into the transition. Start by just bringing plants inside at night, then move them to a garage or shed during the day and eventually inside your home. Be sure to place plants near a window so they can continue to absorb sunlight.
These tips will give you a good head start on preparing your home for winter by saving money and energy. Preparing your home ahead of time will save you a headache and keep you and your family warm all winter long!