Preparing your home for winter can be a big job, especially if you live in a state that gets hit hard with snow and ice when cold weather comes in. There’s a lot to plan for--from making sure your utility bills don’t take a hit to keeping your home nice and toasty on those cold winter nights--but there are several simple things you can do to winterize everything.
The first step is to do a walk-through and assess which areas need attention first. Do you have cracks around doors or windows that need to be sealed up? Possible furnace or fireplace issues? Make a list of all the things that need to be tended to, then do a bit of research online to find out the best ways to get them done. Some projects will need a professional’s touch, but there are several things you can do yourself if you’re on a budget.
Here are the best tips for DIY winterization projects around the house.
Reverse your ceiling fans
The ceiling fans in your home may not normally get used much in winter, but if you reverse the direction they run in, you can make them work for you...and your utility bill. Fans push down the warm air that collects at the ceiling--since warm air rises--meaning your heat is more evenly distributed. This will in turn keep you from turning up the thermostat, which will keep your energy costs from skyrocketing on the coldest days.
Get on the roof
You’ll want to make sure there are no missing or broken shingles, so check the roof thoroughly to make sure everything is in good shape. If you have attic space, take a look at the insulation to ensure it’s still fulfilling its purpose. If there are areas where insulation needs to be replaced, it might be best to call a professional (unless you have experience in working with it). Fiberglass insulation can be dangerous to work with, so always keep your safety in mind.
Seal up those cracks
Cracks around windows and doors can let quite a bit of warm air escape, while cold air comes rushing in. If you can feel a breeze when you’re standing near these areas in your home, look for places that need to be sealed up. There are several ways you can achieve this: caulk, which can be purchased at any home improvement store; weather stripping; or storm windows, which are pricier but may be worth the expense if you live in an area that tends to get blasted with frigid temperatures and snow. Not only will taking care of these cracks help you stay warm, it will help save energy. You might even notice a dramatic drop in your utility bills.
Clean the gutters
Before winter is fully formed--or on the first good-weather day you can find--get out the ladder and clean out your gutters. Allowing water to flow will help prevent icicles and other debris from forming along the sides of your house, which can cause major damage if left alone.
Check the furnace
Your furnace is a major part of your home, and when it’s not functioning correctly, it can cause serious problems. Depending on the type of furnace you have, it may even be dangerous to let repairs go too long, so if you haven’t had it checked out in the last year or so, get a pro to come in and look it over. This is one instance where DIY just won’t work, so take the time to find theright company for your needs. You can find a pro online and review their ratings and rates.
As for your furnace filter...that’s an easy fix, and one that doesn’t require a repairman. Keep a few extras on hand and replace them about once a month in cold weather to keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently.
Remember, the earlier you get started with winterization projects like these, the less you’ll have to worry about issues popping up and causing problems down the road. Think ahead, plan well, and call in a pro when it’s necessary. DIY projects are a great way to save money, but if you’re unsure of what you’re doing, you may end up causing yourself more grief in the long run.
Photo via Pixabay by Skitterphoto