Now that winter’s practically upon us, it’s time to start preparing for the cold and snowy months ahead. Failure to winterize can result in higher energy bills and more costly repairs. Here’s what you need to know to prepare your home for the colder weather throughout the winter season.
Seal Your Windows and Doors
To avoid heat escaping from drafty windows and doors, you should use caulking around all edges. You can lose a lot of energy through tiny cracks, which leads to higher bills. How do you know if you have drafts? Light a candle and hold it near the window; if it flickers, you have an energy leak. If your existing windows and doors are more than 20 years old, it may be time to invest in replacements. This way, you get more energy efficient windows and doors that look beautiful and add to the curb appeal and value of your home.
Install Storm Windows and Doors
In the same vein, it’s time to switch out your screens and put on the storm doors. This will keep cold, wind and snow from battering your front and side doors, which can really do a number on their appearance and functionality.
Service Furnace/Change Furnace Filters
Schedule a furnace inspection to ensure it’s in good working condition before you have to rely on it every day. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your unit, keep costly repairs at bay and ensure efficient operation. At the same time, change your furnace filters. Those filters should be changed every few months, but each manufacturer is different so read the box.
Clean Gutters and Clean up the Yard
Rake or mow up all the fallen leaves before the first snow. Cover any bushes you want to protect with burlap. Scoop out debris from your gutters to ensure a smoother flow of water and snow melt runoff.
Close Unused Doors and Vents
No need to heat rooms you never use. Close off vents and doors to guest rooms, finished basements and the like to conserve on energy and direct heat where it needs to go most: your main living quarters.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Flip your ceiling fan switch to reverse the direction of the blades. They should be going clockwise in winter to keep warm air downwards. In summer, switch them back to counterclockwise.
Check Your Emergency Supply
With winter storms on the way, bringing the potential for power outages, it’s important to stock up on your emergency supplies. Make sure you have a first aid kit complete with sanitizers, bandages, over the counter medications and backup prescriptions. If anyone in your family has an allergy, make sure you have extra epinephrine pens on hand. Stockpile canned goods, dried foods, gallons of water (one per person per day), flashlights with extra batteries, manual can openers, matches, fully charged cell phones and a fire extinguisher.