Winter is coming.
I envision a lot of mornings where I won’t want to leave the warm sanctuary of our bed to tackle the harsh cold of our bedroom. One of the benefits of living in a part of the country with four seasons is seeing the leaves change. One of the downsides of living in a part of the country with four seasons is realizing they’re changing because it will be very cold soon. With colder temperatures come higher utility bills as our furnace will be used more to keep our home hospitable.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce that utility bill and save yourself some headache down the road. Winterizing your home is about more than saving money, it’s about getting ready and avoiding hassles down the road.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the colder temperatures:
- Check your furnace. If you haven’t had a professional inspect your furnace in a while, consider getting it done. Stock up on air filters and give it a test run if you’ve had a warm autumn where you haven’t used it much. The last thing you want to do is fix a furnace when it’s freezing inside your home.
- Check your windows and doors. Get weather stripping around your doors and inspect your windows to reduce the draft. Consider putting up window insulation, the plastic sheets that can help reduce drafty windows, as keeping that warm air in and the cold air out will keep that energy bill down (it doesn’t look that pretty but money > pretty).
- Check your roof, gutters and downspouts. It’s important to check your gutters because you don’t want anything clogging them, creating a buildup of water that freezes and causes damage. While you’re up there, check your roof for cracks. Small cracks become large ones when ice gets involved.
- Check insulation. Insulating windows and doors is just step one, check your attic too and make sure you have an adequate amount of the stuff so you aren’t losing precious energy.
- Check your programmable thermostat. Double check your programming on the thermostat (or get one if you don’t already have one) to make sure it’s still accurate to how you like your home heated.
- Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Cold temperatures means closed windows and little air circulation, so it’s important to check your detectors in the event something bad happens.
- Review your plumbing. Turn off your water to the outside of the house, open spouts and drain/detach hoses. Again, water becomes ice and ice expands.
- Check that fireplace before you use it. Make sure the flue is open, the chimney is clean(ish), and you’re safe before using that fireplace. If you have wood, store it in a dry place away from the outside of your house.
- Perform maintenance on your equipment. This has less to do with winter than the rest of the tips but now’s a good time to check your equipment. You should drain the gas from your lawnmower and put it into storage. If you use a snowblower, get that checked so you aren’t stuck with an inoperable paperweight when the snow hits.
- Adjust your ceiling fans. In the summer, you want the fans to blow down and fast. In the winter, you want them to blow up and slow. In the summer, the fan blows warm air away from your body to cool you down. In the winter, you want it to blow up slowly to get the warm air back down.
Hopefully with these tips you can trim your electricity bill, save a few dollars, and make it through winter without any surprises. Do you have any winterizing tips?
(Photo: ansik )