Winterize Your Home: Inexpensive Tips & Tricks
Are There Some Inexpensive Ways To Winterize Your Home?
With temperatures falling that means that autumn and winter are just around the corner. The cost to keep a warm home will soon begin to rise. Winterizing should be high on the to do list to avoid freeze-related home damages and keep your heating budget manageable. Here are a few tested tips that can help control those energy bills and financial leaks before they start.
This most common and simple form of winterization will involve sealing the cracks around movable joints in your home, most commonly for windows and doors. There are many types of weatherstripping products on the market today. Look for leaks, and determine which windows and doors you should focus on first, and then measure the perimeters of each to know how much stripping you will need to purchase. Don’t forget to add 5-10% extra in your calculations to accommodate waste from measurement or cutting errors.
Since each product is designed to work in a different area of the home, read product packaging carefully to determine if it is best suited for windows or doors, as well as indoor or outdoor use. Weatherstripping should always be applied to clean, dry surfaces and shouldn’t interfere with the operation of the window or door.
Several of the same manufacturers that offer weatherstripping solutions and products also make door sweeps to accommodate various sizes of doors. They are most effective when installed at the same time as weatherstripping, as they require many of the same measurements. Automatic sweeps are also available for a little steeper price, but are easier on carpet.
A very quick and simple way to guard your home’s interior against energy loss, chilly breezes and pests is with a commercial sealant. They come in many varieties, including expandable foam, silicone caulking, and oil or resin, among others. Each type of sealant will have a different use, although it is recommended that you avoid sealing gaps larger than one inch. For best results, the area being sealed should be clean, dry, and free of any previous sealant, and the product should be applied in one continuous line, as compared to multiple, short applications. Because some types of caulking can shrink over time, so avoid being skimpy on your application.
Insulate Storm Windows
Often your home’s windows come with additional storm panes, it is important to install them before colder weather starts. If not, you may find it too expensive to purchase stand-alone storm windows and for a more affordable approach use a plastic insulation kit. It can give windows of most any size or shape a better insulating factor when installed on the inside of the home.
Wrap Your Hot Water Heater
The majority of homes still use a single electric or gas hot water heater for all of their hot water needs, and covering these appliances with an insulator is a great way to prevent heat from escaping during the winter months. Covers, or “blankets,” can be purchased at most home improvement stores starting around $35 and are easy to install without professional help. However, be certain that the placement of a blanket will not void your manufacturer’s warranty.
Clean The Gutters
Leftover leaves and debris can cause gutters to clog, causing big problems for homeowners when the temps reach freezing levels. To be sure that your gutters aren’t warped or broken from ice building up and expanding over the winter, do one final clean before the snow flies.
Get a Furnace Check-Up
This one should involve the help of a professional, but it can be well worth the cost. Have your furnace or heating system inspected at least once a year, before the cold temps require you to turn it on. A quick and simple inspection of the working parts can ensure that you’ll have heat when you need it, and it can possibly prevent a costly after-hours emergency call when you’d least expect it! Be extra proactive and make sure your vents are clean and any filters have been changed on a regular basis. Your furnace professional or a helpful home store associate should be able to point you in the right direction for the type of filter you will need.
Now You’re ready To be Cozy And Warm.
It’s a long list, but once you’ve tackled all the necessary winterizing tasks, you can sit back and stay comfortably warm all winter long. Spending some time and money before the weather turns cold can provide a wonderful return on your investment.
Real Estate Broker Eric Williams is a veteran top-producing broker with Exit Choice Realty specializing in Listing Homes and the Luxury Home Market. His experience, leadership and philanthropic efforts has made him a value added community resource. Learn more about Eric Williams and how he can serve your needs HERE.