For those living in areas of the country that enjoy seasonal changes, winter is knocking on the autumnal door. This means that colder days and nights, hard freezes and maybe even some snow showers might be in the not-so-distant future.
Autumn is the time to start thinking about winterizing the home in preparation for the colder weather. Here’s how to prep the home for winter to help decrease energy waste…and maybe even lower the monthly energy bills, too!
Schedule a Furnace Check-Up
The furnace might or might not yet be in use. Some parts of the country are already facing colder temperatures, which means that the heat might be on in the home. Homeowners, though, might be waiting to flip the switch on that furnace.
Before the furnace starts to be in regular use, schedule a maintenance check-up with a heating and cooling professional. Both the furnace and the air conditioner need to be maintained, and a yearly maintenance appointment is recommended for each.
These appointments can help homeowners identify any little problems before they become bigger issues…and more expensive issues. The last thing that homeowners want during the brutal cold winter is for the furnace to suddenly begin blowing cold air or just not turning on.
As autumn begins to near its final month, schedule that yearly appointment for the furnace. In addition, homeowners also should remember to change out the air filter for their furnace at least every 90 days. However, those with pets or homeowners who may be more prone to allergies may need to change the filter more frequently.
Replacing the air filter is an easy maintenance habit that can help ensure the system works more efficiently. An older and dirtier filter may lead to energy waste, as the system struggles to heat the home with a dirty, grimy filter.
Check for Any Air Leaks or Drafts
Windows and doors can be the source of cold drafts during winter. This drafty issue can be another problem that causes the furnace to work harder.
Check around windows and doors for any air leaks or issues. Weather stripping may need to be replaced periodically to ensure effective insulation against the outdoor elements. While this can be an easy DIY project, some homeowners may opt to call a pro to help them.
Install Window Film for Extra Protection
Want to keep those windows extra sealed against the cold? Use insulation film over the windows to provide additional protection. These are super easy to install, and the products often provide fairly simple instructions.
These films can help keep rooms warmer during the winter!
Check the Thermostat Temperature
Some homeowners love a balmy, warm home. Unfortunately, when the cold weather hits, turning up the heat can just result in a scorched budget. Yes, a warm home feels nice, but turning down the thermostat to a milder temperature can keep the energy bill from soaring.
How low should homeowners go with that thermostat? Opt for 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. This is warm, but not too warm!
Clean the Flue
Using a standard wood-burning fireplace? Make sure that the flue has been cleaned and schedule a maintenance check up to ensure that everything is in the clear.
Also, while homeowners might assume that a wood burning fireplace actually lowers heat cost, this is actually quite the opposite. The standard fireplace is not energy efficient, and it can cause the furnace to work harder to heat the home.
Why? Because the fireplace allows heat to escape the home!
Stock Up on Salt or Ice Melt
Keeping walkways clear of snow and ice could lower the risk of any slip and fall accidents for homeowners or anyone visiting the home. Buy shovels, ice melt and salt before the winter hits to ensure the home is prepared.
Watch the Roof
If and when snow falls, homeowners should check the roof after that snow fall. If snow melts on the roof quickly, it could be a sign of poor attic insulation. When heat escapes the home, it can cause snow on the roof to melt quickly.
Homeowners can compare their roof snow to their neighbors, too. If the roof on the home next door has snow packed on top, but homeowners notice that their roof is virtually snow-free…there could be an insulation issue.
Homeowners don’t want pipes to burst during winter! To combat frozen pipes, insulation could be helpful. Yes, homeowners can insulate their pipes.
Consumer Reports explains that basements, attics and garages are areas that are most at-risk. These often don’t have good heat sources. Homeowners may focus on these areas when insulating pipes.
There are many other ways to help winterize the home for winter. And these tips can help reduce energy costs and also could help homeowners decrease the risk of accidents in their home (like a burst pipe or a guest slipping on the sidewalk).As autumn comes to a close, use the final month to prepare the home for the cold, snow and ice of winter!