Like it or not, harsh, cold weather is right around the corner. But with some precautionary measures, you can keep those winter blues in check around your house.
Fortunately, you still have time to prepare for the snow, ice and gusty gales that are sure to show up in the weeks ahead. Here are some tips to help batten down your home’s hatches:
- Conventional water heaters are typically set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but most households only need a setting of 120 degrees to be comfortable. Check yours and adjust the setting if need be.
- A big source of heat loss in the winter is a chimney. If you don’t plan to use it during cold weather, install a chimney balloon to retain heat and block drafts.
- If your water pipes are warm to the touch, insulate them to lower the cost of heating water. The insulation will also help prevent the pipes from freezing. Pre-slit pipe foam is available at many hardware stores. Use duct tape to wrap it into place.
- Federal, state and local tax credits are available for a variety of energy efficiency and alternative energy projects, such as geothermal heating and solar power. Tap into the internet to find what’s out there.
- Clear sidewalks, rain spouts and gutters of leaves and other fall-related debris so that water doesn’t back up and freeze, which could cause hazardous conditions and possibly damage.
- Lower heating bills by replacing deteriorating insulation around doors, windows, garages and attics. This includes applying caulking, weatherstripping, roll or foam insulation, window plastic insulation and other cold-weather barriers.
- If you’re in the market for new doors and windows, consider those that are storm-ready. They provide for better insulation, and that means notable energy savings in the long run.
- Got a drafty door? Stick a snake under it – a draft snake, that is. You’ll find them for sale or you can create a homemade version, such as a rolled-up towel.
- Make sure your snow and ice removal equipment is in proper working order and ready to go at the first sign of a snowflake or a fleck of ice.
- When’s the last time you had the home heating system inspected? If you can’t remember when, now’s the time to hire a home heating professional to conduct a tune-up and make any necessary repairs. And don’t forget to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters increase energy demand and restrict air flow.
- If you have ceiling fans, let them go to work for you during the winter by flicking a switch on them that will make the blades rotate from counterclockwise to clockwise. The clockwise movement will force downward hot air that accumulates near the ceiling.
- Shut down exterior water spigots and drain and store gardening hoses.
Being proactive now with your home will put winter in its place and give yourself peace of mind.