Snowman outside houseJust as the coming of spring requires you to clean, winter brings its own set of challenges that you must rise to meet. You will want to ensure that your home is not only warm, but that your utility bills are kept low. Energy efficiency is an important part of winter proofing your home and can be good for your budget as well as for the environment. Winter proofing your home may also protect it from the ravages of ice and snow. In order to winter proof your home effectively, you should:

Seal Your Leaks

The most obvious step in keeping your home warm is to keep cold air out and warm air in. The average home is riddled with air leaks; there are so many that by some estimates they have the equivalent of a nine square foot hole in an exterior wall. According to the US Department of Energy, the average home loses between five and 30 percent of its energy due to these leaks. Caulking the spaces around windows and around any other gaps to the outside that you can find will reduce the heat transfer considerably. You should also look at your roof to see if any shingles are missing and check for gaps around your chimney. Additionally, you should get draft guards to minimize the transfer via the spaces under your exterior doors.

Insulate Your Home

You need at least a foot of insulation in your attic. A good rule of thumb for judging your insulation is to look for your ceiling joists; if they are visible then you need more insulation. There are numerous options available when it comes to insulation including a variety of environmentally friendly products. It is important to make sure that the insulation you add does not have a paper backing as this can act as a vapor barrier and result in future problems.

Replace Furnace Filters

You should regularly replace your furnace filters (VIDEO) over the course of the winter. A dirty filter will lower your airflow and make your heating system less efficient. When it comes to filters, your options include reusable filters that can be washed; these are a cost effective alternative to disposable ones.

Inspect and Clear Your Gutters

A clogged gutter prevents snow and ice from flowing freely and can result in ice dams, which may seriously damage your home’s walls and roof. With an ice dam, the water will have nowhere to go; it will back up and can enter your home. You should also make sure that your gutters direct the water away from your home’s foundation as it could crack when the water in the soil around it freezes and expands.

These steps for winter proofing your home will be helpful regardless of whether you live in a cold or a temperate climate. The US Department of Energy states that it is possible for homeowners to save as much as 50 percent on their energy bill if they winter proof their homes correctly.