With the temperature dropping and the days getting shorter, you may find yourself wondering if it is really time to start thinking about winter already? The answer to that question is quite simple: it is! Time goes by quickly, but you don’t want it to pass by so fast that you suddenly find yourself in the middle of winter freezing inside of your home with the added nip of astronomically high energy bills!
Instead of facing those nasty consequences, start the home winterizing process and take action now so you’re ready for winter once it hits.
Follow these 8 steps will show you How To Winterize Your House
1. Clean the gutters in your home
Cleaning the gutters is a chore that most people don’t look forward to as getting the ladder out and clearing out the debris makes for dirty work. When it comes to preparing for winter, it may not seem like the most logical tactic for getting your home ready but there is a method to the madness. The reason this is important is because it acts a precautionary measure as one very real scenario during winter involves your drains clogging, damming water up, and then freezing over.
That frozen water backs up the water that hasn’t yet frozen and can ultimately cause it to leak into your house. It’s recommended that the gutters are cleaned at least twice a year, in the fall and the spring, but giving it one check as things transition to winter is definitely one way to keep yourself from incurring any unnecessary repair costs.
2. Block any air leaks
Over time, the likes of weather damage and age can cause tiny openings within your home. During the colder months or times of excessive wind, these cracks can allow air to enter your home. Unfortunately because the leaks are so small, they often go undetected and subsequently untreated. Luckily, they’re easier to find than it may seem.
When you are inside of your home, be on the lookout for areas where it feels drafty. From there you’ll light an incense stick and hold it up in the spots. If you notice the smoke drifting outward towards the location of the holes in your walls then that means there is a crack there. To seal them up you’ll need to apply caulk to the leaky areas. You can also place door sweeps beneath exterior doors to further cut down on air entering your home.
3. Insulate the attic
While insulating your attic can cost a little money, the process will pay you back quickly. For those in areas subject to cold weather, the frigid air can decrease the temperature of the attic which can cause your heating bill to go up. Keeping the heat within your attic with insulation can save you up to fifty percent on the cost of heating your home, depending on certain factors.
You can take the slightly pricier route and hire an auditor to come to your home and put you on the path to greater overall efficiency or you could take action into your own hands. To insulate your attic you should have a minimum of 12 inches of insulation. Also be sure to fix any leaks you may have in your roof because any water that is able to get in can threaten the integrity of insulation through mold and mildew.
4. Check Your Ductwork
For those with a central heating and cooling system, the ductwork is the means by which air is distributed all throughout your home. Because it is the thing necessary for homes to receive circulation, make sure the ductwork is connected and insulated as it should be. Within most homes, it is not unheard of to lose 20-30% of the circulated air from leaks or poor connections in ductwork.
In some cases homes can lose up to 60% of the heated air before it reaches its final destination. That’s almost the same as 60 cents of every dollar spent on heating going to waste! While it is possible to give your ducts an inspection yourself, you will likely be better served by having a trained professional come to administer testing. Not only will their analysis will be more thorough, it could save you more in the long run.
5. Reverse the ceiling fan
Most of us are aware of the fact that warm air rises, but it when it is sitting near the top of your ceiling you aren’t able to receive any benefit from it. Luckily there is a way to bring it down and heat up your spaces and that is through the use of your fan. Traditionally fans are used to circulate air during hot periods, as the counterclockwise spin which pushes cool air down helps us to beat the heat.
Many fans also come with a winter setting in which they are able to spin the opposite direction and have the opposite effect. For fan spinning clockwise, warm air is pushed down and heats up rooms. Make sure that this winter your ceiling fans are pushing air downward to the floor where you and your family are and can benefit from the heat.
6. Wrap your pipes
One risk of winter, especially if you live in an older home, is the possibility of having pipes freeze. As the water in the pipes freezes, it expands, which can cause pipes to burst. There are preventative actions that can be taken to avoid this, namely wrapping your pipes with foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation. It’s easy enough to find either at your local hardware store and these are best placed around pipes that pass through unheated crawl spaces, basements, or garages.
As you wrap your pipes, make sure that the means of insulation you’re using is tight, as you loose-fitting covers can allow pipes to sweat. The liquid from this could expose the insulation to water, which could damage it. In the event your pipes do end up bursting, be sure to turn off the water supply and call a plumber.
7. Have Your Chimney Cleaned
Some people rely on the heat from the fireplace during the winter to warm up their homes. In preparation for the next round of cold months, it’s best to have your chimney cleaned beforehand. Though the frequency with which you may need to have your chimney serviced can vary based upon the frequency of use, most hold that it is best to have an annual checkup. In the event you only use it a few times a week, you could get away with a check every other year. Chimney cleaning has a number of benefits, with the first and most important of them being safety.
Over time the burning that chimneys do leaves residue within the flume and presents the risk starting a fire within the chimney. Sometimes chimneys also get clogged which prevents the escape of harmful fumes and increases the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning within the home. Additionally, the buildup reduces the overall efficiency of the chimney, meaning that to keep warm you’ll have to burn more fuel. By having regular chimney checkups performed, you will be able to catch any problems and reduce the amount you may have to put down for repair later.
8. Install A Programmable Thermostat
For those still relying on manual thermostats, one switch to consider making before the arrival of winter is to a programmable one. These thermostats are able to adjust the temperature within your home based on preselected settings and setup for the devices is not too difficult. Once installed, the thermostat will help you to maintain an ideal temperature within your home without forcing homeowners to do much adjusting.
You can save plenty of money by having your thermostat adjust the temperature while you are at work or asleep. It is also useful to know that adjusting the internal temperature just one or two degrees to decrease the difference between it and the external temperature can reduce your energy bill by several percentage points each month.
It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking about Winterizing a Home
By the time you actually start following through on home winterizing, winter will almost be here. Life moves by quickly and emergencies happen, so start planning your actions now before you forget about home winterizing entirely. Your home will feel more comfortable and you’ll likely save some money before the season is even finished.