5 Ways to Winterize Your Home

5 Ways to Winterize Your Home
Winterizing your home is not just about improving aesthetic appeal or even comfort. Other even more important benefits include increased home safety and lower electricity bills throughout the cold winter months. Whether you do just one or all five things on this list, you will realize a savings in your energy bill this winter. So read on to learn five easy ways to winterize your home before the temperatures drop.

Tip #1: Stop air leaks and drafts wherever you find them.
From windows that don’t seal to drafty cracks to door-to-floor gaps, your first task is to stop the warm air from seeping out of your house into the great outdoors. An easy way to test for air leaks is to stand on one side of a window or door holding a burning candle. Have someone else stand on the other side holding a blow dryer. If the blow dryer burns out the candle, you have just found a draft that needs sealing.

Here are some easy ways to accomplish this:

– Use caulk to seal little cracks, gaps and holes in and around doors and windows.
– Use a “draft snake” (or even just a rolled towel) to stop warm air from escaping in the gap left between a closed door and the floorboards.
– Use big-bubble bubble wrap to seal up old windows.
– Install storm doors and windows to improve heat retention up to 45 percent (and use the tax credits the IRS provides to offset the cost if you are buying them for the first time).

Tip #2: Reverse your ceiling fans to push the warm air down.
Many homeowners don’t realize that ceiling fans were designed to facilitate air circulation in both summer and winter. There is a little switch on the central fan (above the light fixture) that should be reversed in winter. This will push the warm air that rises up towards the ceiling back into the center of the space to warm the whole room.

Tip #3: Invest in a programmable thermostat (or use the one you already have).
Programming your thermostat can have a huge impact on your monthly energy bill – even just a change of 1-2 degrees can help you save money. Also, you can use a programmable thermostat to avoid warming an empty house while you are away.

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you can find a cheap one at any home supplies store. Most are easy to install as a DIY project, or you can ask your HVAC manufacturer if there is a specific thermostat that pairs well with your system.

A tip: Save money at night by turning your thermostat down and piling on the blankets (and some warm flannel jammies) instead.

Tip #4: Wrap your pipes and lower your water heater temperature.
These two tactics work together to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use. By wrapping your pipes, you also guard against pipes bursting in extreme cold temperatures.

Wrapping your pipes also helps raise water temperatures so you don’t need to work your water heater as hard. When setting your water heater temperature, aim for around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tip #5: Replace your furnace’s air filter as needed throughout the cold season.
Many furnaces today also take reusable air filters, which can be washed and reused repeatedly. But whether you choose to use reusable or disposable air filters, you need to make sure you change them regularly. A clean air filter increases energy efficiency, facilitates better air flow and – most importantly – guards against the risk of fire.

By taking a bit of time to winterize your home following these five tips, you can weather the cold winter months knowing you and your family will be warm and safe inside your home. Your wallet will also thank you for the lower energy bills!

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