Winter is here: Fido is wearing his Christmas sweater, your 2-year-old is bundled up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and you fear going to get the mail. Your home is by and large the most important investment in your life. In order to save money, keep your family warm, and keep up with your biggest investment, here are five tips to help you properly winterize your home this season.
- Work on the Inside — When surveying the inside of your home, look for cracks around the windows, walls, and outlets. According to the Earthworks Group, the average home in the U.S.has leaks/holes which can amount to a nine-square-foot area. So, how do we plug these potentially expensive holes? Well, you can use a standard caulking gun in instances where you can see a hole, crack, gap, or feel a draft on a windy day. As well, door sweeps can help to curtail drafts from under the door. And for inefficient windows, a company such as Duck Brand offers weatherization seals/insulation kits that will save you energy (and money).
- Add Insulation in your Attic — As we all know, warm air rises. Thus, you will need sufficient attic insulation in order to save on that energy bill. Danny Lipford, the host of the popular TV show “Today’s Homeowner,” says that you’ll need at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic. What’s an easy way to ascertain whether you have enough insulation? If you can see the ceiling joists in the attic, you don’t have enough insulation.
- Block Outside Leaks — Focus on windows and faucets to winterize your home; use standard caulking or Sidewinder Caulk that can take temperatures of 40 degrees or below. Like with the interior inspection, look for cracks, holes, and gaps on the outside which may be letting in too much cold air. According to Lipford, you can save upwards of $100 per year by caulking the exterior of your home.
- Take a Look at your Heating System — Be sure to have a heating specialist inspect your system annually. Look into using a setback thermostat to heat while you are there but lower the temperature when you are away. Another great way to maximize your system is to look into zone heating; by using devices which heat only rooms where you spend the most time, you’ll save more money.
- Protect your Pipes — In order to properly winterize your home before sub-freezing nights roll through, be sure to turn off the water to your hose and make sure the lines have been properly drained. Search out any pipes which aren’t insulated and wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, which is available at most hardware stores.