11 Smart Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter
A little preparing now goes a long way for a cozy warm home this winter. Our checklist can help!
The new Farmers’ Almanac is out – this means winter can’t be far behind! With the “frost flip-flop” forecast from the Almanac and the high price of fuel, we all should be taking some steps to improve our homes’ efficiencies. Here are eleven easy ways to prepare your home for a cold winter ahead:
1. Seal windows and doors!
Windows and doors are the biggest losers when it comes to heat loss, especially if they’re older. While replacing old windows with new double-paned windows is a great idea, it may not be in the budget. Instead, try a caulking gun and caulk. If you caulk completely around the outer window frame and maybe even the outside of the window, you may be pleasantly surprised at how well it keeps the hot air in and the cool air out.
Another option is rope caulk – which requires no caulking gun, and it is easily removed when the warm weather returns. It’s even reusable for next year. Check with your local hardware store for additional information.
2. Furnace/chimney check-up
Now is the time to have the filter on your furnace changed as well as a cleaning or check-up. This will allow your furnace to run more efficiently. And if you’re heating with a stove or fireplace, be sure to have your chimney cleaned and checked.
3. Purchase a programmable thermostat
Then learn how to program it! If you’re smart about programming it and turning down the heat during the day or at night, you may be able to cut your heating costs by 20%.
4. Ensure Proper Insulation
Is your heat literally going through the roof? If you have an attic, be sure to check if it is properly insulated. This insulation will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. A home that has zero attic insulation will lose around 48 BTUs per square foot on a minus-10 degree day.
5. Payment plans
Check with your utility company to see if there are any special plans that will help you budget your winter heating costs a little more efficiently. Some plans allow you to spread your payments out over a 12-month period.
6. Look for ways to cut costs
This winter may be tough on many of us. Take some time now to analyze the cell phone, cable, satellite radio, and other plans that fit into the budget when you signed up, but may not make sense now. You don’t have to get rid of these things, but maybe downsizing to a smaller plan would be more affordable in the long run.
7. Dress in layers!
Find the blankets, wool sweaters, and socks. If you can dress in layers while watching TV or working from home, you may be able to keep the heat at a minimum during certain times of the day.
8. Ceiling fans are not just for summer
Flip the switch to reverse the spin of the fan and turn on the lowest speed to blow warm air down from the ceiling.
9. Use energy from the sun
During the day, open drapes and blinds to allow sunlight to help warm the house, and then close at night to hold the heat in.
10. Move furniture around
If you have furniture (beds, couches, bookcases) in front of the heating vents, move it so that the heat can travel freely. You may also want to move couches or beds away from windows during the cold winter months if you have room. Experts recommend keeping furniture at least a foot or more away from vents.
11. Save on hot water
Lower the thermostat on the hot water heater to 120 degrees or below. Install a programmable timer so water is only being heated during times of the day when it is typically used, such as mornings or evenings. Insulate the hot water heater with a blanket to help water stay hot longer.
This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Do you have a question or an idea for an article? Contact us!