As the thermometer begins to drop, and we brace ourselves for the cold and chill that comes with the winter months, it’s time to ready our home for the season. Winterizing your house not only helps keep you comfortable amids the snow and frost, it can actually save you money on your energy bills.
While winterizing your home might sound like a daunting task, it’s actually thankfully easy. It doesn’t have to involve any major project, like replacing your home’s bricks or changing out your home’s siding. By taking a few simple, easy steps, you can make sure your home is primed for the winter months.
Clean and Seal Your Windows
Windows are your home’s eyes out into the world, but they also can be a source of leaked heat and cooler indoor temperatures. Many homes have windows with small, easy to fix gaps or cracks that need to be sealed in order to make sure your home is truly ready for the winter.
Before you get to work on sealing and caulking your windows, you might as well take this as an opportunity to clean them. You’ll want to clear off any fingerprints, dirt and grime, and remove tape residue from your glass windows, which will do more than just make your windows look nice. They’ll allow in more sunlight, which will help naturally heat your household.
Once you’ve finished cleaning your windows, you’ll want to check to see if there are any cracks or gaps that need to be caulked and sealed. You could find that you might need to replace your entire window, but hopefully any issues prove to be minor.
That said, even a small leak or crack can cause cold air to seep in and shoot your energy costs sky high. Feel around the edges of your window to feel for any escaping air, or areas where cold air feels like it may be rushing in. Seal those areas as best you can to help keep your home primed for the winter conditions.
Clean Your Gutters
Winter brings ice and snow that can wreak havoc on your gutters, but fall brings beautiful foliage that leads to barren trees, and that can be worse to your roof. These fallen leaves have to go somewhere, and that somewhere is often your gutters. Which is why it’s imperative that you clear out your gutters before they’re irreparably damaged.
Your gutters can become clogged with leaves, branches, and other debris. While this isn’t ideal during even the best of conditions, the potential for damage is exasperated even more so as the weather begins to drop below freezing.
If your gutters are clogged, any precipitation that falls will soon spill over to the exterior of your home and your roof, instead of being directed away from those areas as intended. When that water freezes, it can cause intensive damage to your roof, gutter system, and the rest of your home’s exterior that could set you back thousands of dollars.
Find a relatively nice afternoon, before the frost truly sets in, to grab a ladder and clear out your gutters. Your pocketbook will thank you later.
Check Your Pipes
A burst pipe can cause substantial damage to your home, so it’s important to ensure that your pipes are able to handle the winter weather. First of all, make sure to always keep an eye on the forecast. If you are set to experience a particularly harsh winter freeze, make sure to trickle a few faucets in your home to keep water moving to prevent your pipes from freezing over.
The reason for this precaution is simple—as water freezes into ice, it expands. If your pipes are filled with water, this expanding ice can irreparably damage your pipes, leaving you with costly repairs and no immediate source of clean water.
There are additional steps you can take to make sure your pipes are in good working order, including caulking and sealing any areas in walls, attics, and crawl spaces. But primarily, your best (and easiest) way to ensure the safety of your pipes comes from doing your due diligence to protect them during the coldest parts of winter.
Replace Your Furnace’s Filter
An easy and relatively inexpensive way to save money on your heating bill while preparing your home for the winter is something you should be doing every three months, regardless of the season. That would involve replacing the filter in your furnace.
Overtime, your furnace will pull in dust, dirt, hair, and other debris that can clog your system. While this likely won’t lead to any long-term harm, it does mean that your furnace will have to work harder to get started, which means it’ll use more energy to bring your home up to the desired temperature.
By simply replacing your filter, you can help prime your home for winter, while saving yourself money along the way.
Check Smoke Detectors
Finally, winter is the perfect time to make sure your smoke detectors are not out of batteries. It might seem like a small, simple task, but it’s one that could actually save your life.
Winter brings cold weather, which brings about a multitude of ways that we try to warm ourselves back up. Between fireplaces, electrical blankets, and radiators, there are a lot of objects and devices in your home that could cause a fire.
In fact, more house fires happen during the winter than at any other point during the year. So by simply making sure your smoke detectors are working properly, you’ll be able to winterize your home in a way that protects yourself.
Winterizing your home might initially seem like an “optional” chore that’s going to use up a lot of your time and effort. In fact, the opposite is true—winterizing your home is an easy way to save huge on your energy bills. It doesn’t take a master handyman to accomplish these five tasks, and when you take care of the items on this list, your wallet will no doubt thank you in the ensuing winter months.
About The Author: Jeff Good is a writer and content creator with a passion for research and using writing to learn about new things. A lifelong Chicago resident, he loves writing, cooking, and his beloved Cubs.
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