Preparing for winter, and all that comes with it, can be a daunting task. Winter heating costs can skyrocket if your windows are poorly insulated, your plumbing breaks, or if the heating system is out-of-date. Ensuring your home is prepped properly before the holidays will save you time and money in the long run.
What do you want to get accomplished in the upcoming months? Create a to-do list and break it down into two or three jobs you can tackle in the next three to four weekends. You’ll want to make sure every item in the home is checked, so that’s why a to-do list is essential.
Check the Windows
Windows are the easiest place for drafts to sneak in. Check each one in the house to ensure they are properly insulated. You can save hundreds on your heating bills just by resealing your windows. View tips for cold-weather and much more on the Department of Energy’s website.
Prep the Plumbing
Drain the water from your outdoor faucets and garden hoses and arrange to have any in-ground sprinkler pipes blown out. Roll up the garden hoses and store them inside. Identify any “problem” pipes that are prone to freezing in the house and consider using heat tape to keep them warm during extremely cold weather. If the worst happens, ensure everyone in the family knows how to turn off the water at the source. This will minimize leaking when and if a pipe bursts.
Heat Things Up
Ensure your fireplace is ready to provide warm nights all winter. Be sure to have the chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional before the first frost. Also, have a professional perform a routine check of the heating systems before cold weather arrives. This should include vacuuming the vents and other heating components. If your furnace has a filter, check to see if it needs replacing. For more energy savings, consider installing a setback thermostat that keeps the home cooler when you are asleep or away.
Seal the Leaks
Keep drafts to a minimum this winter. If you have them, install storm windows and doors -- and don't overlook the basement. Add or replace worn weather stripping around the doors and windows and caulk any gaps. If doorstops are worn, replace them. If any pipes or ducts travel through an exterior wall, be sure to use caulking and weather-stripping around all entry points. These steps will block any potential entry points for cold air.