As a homeowner, I am sure there are things that pop into your mind that need to be done to winterize your home, such as avoiding freezing pipes. However, there are also many other things, most people don’t think about, that you can do throughout winter to conserve energy, save money and avoid damage besides just avoiding freezing pipes.
1. Avoid Freezing Pipes: Turn off the water supply to any exterior faucets and drain any remaining water in the pipes to avoid freezing and bursting.
2. Clear Gutters: Have your gutters and downspouts cleaned out of any debris to help prevent possible water build up and foundation damage. While the gutters and downspouts are being cleaned, check to make sure they are tightly fastened and secure to the home.
3. Window and Door Inspection: Check around the edges of all your windows and doors to see if any warm air is escaping and calk or apply weather stripping where necessary.
4. Roof Inspection: Have a professional check your roof for any loose shingles or possible damage. If you have access to your attic, you can also inspect the roof from inside and look for any possible damage or leaks. If you live in an area that gets snow, the weight of the snow could cause greater damage to any weak or already slightly damaged areas of your roof. Roof inspections can be done during your annual roof cleanings, for more information on why roof cleanings are so important check out the Benefits of Roof Cleaning article.
5. Chimney and Fireplace Maintenance: If you have a working fireplace, have your chimney inspected every year to ensure your family stays safe. Using a properly maintained fireplace can save you money on your heating bill. The chimney sweep cost will depend on the scope of the inspection and cleaning needs. If you are using a fireplace, it is recommended to have carbon monoxide detectors in place to avoid carbon monoxide hazards.
6. Insulate the Attic: Insulating your attic can help conserve warm air and reduce your heating bill.
7. Clear and Clean Vents: Clean your air and intake vents and make sure you do not have any furniture or rugs blocking either. This will help ensure your heating system is running more efficiently.
8. Change Air Filters: Change your indoor and outdoor air filters to ensure efficient heating.
9. Revers Ceiling Fan Direction: Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse the direction of air flow. Switch your fan to rotate counterclockwise, on a slow speed, to push the warm air down. This is an easy step in your winterizing process to help save you money
10. Lower Hot Water Heater Temperature: Although some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140 degrees fahrenheit, most households usually only require them to be set at 120 degrees. According to Energy.gov, reducing your water heater temperature can provide an energy savings of anywhere from 4%-22% annually.
11. Program Thermostat: Programming your thermostat to lower the heat during the night or while you are away from your home can help save you money on heating costs. Often, people are concerned that doing that will make your system work harder, however per VolunteerEnergy.com, the higher the temperature inside compared to the temperature outside, the more expensive heating will be. Lowering the inside temperature, even temporarily, saves money.
Using this guide as a checklist each winter season, can not only help prevent damage to your home, it can also help save you money!