Home Equity

How To Winterize Your House

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

One of my favorite seasons is autumn, second only to early summer. Many individuals, like myself, find that the change of seasons brings them joy and renewed energy. But as much as I’d like to, I just can’t afford to waste away every afternoon in the remaining heat and warmth of the year.

Getting the house ready for the coming winter is a major priority of mine. Even if you don’t experience extreme cold in your area, winter still offers a variety of weather changes that necessitate preparations for the season.

From where I am, I can clearly hear your objections. After all, there’s no good reason for you to be working on gutter maintenance right now. I get where you’re coming from, but I have to ask: Would you rather clear your gutters while it’s warm outside, or when it’s cold and your fingers are numb from scooping out wet, gunky leaf matter?

If you take care of these essentials, you can reduce your utility costs over time. When the winter weather finally arrives, you’ll be pleased you made the effort to get ready for it now.

9 Winter Preparation Tips for Your Home

  1. Empty Your Rain Barrels

When the first frost arrived last year, I neglected to empty either of my rain buckets. Worse yet, I regretfully admit that I forgot about the water all winter. It amazes me that the rain barrels didn’t burst open from the constant temperature changes.

This is a mistake I intend to avoid repeating in 2019. The complexity of draining the rain barrels is going to be different for each different kind of barrel. Some homeowners may simply turn on the faucets to empty the system. My homemade xeriscape rain barrels are much easier to empty than the commercially available ones.

Do it in the fall, when it’s not too chilly outside. Spending that additional water on watering houseplants, the last of your garden plants, and the lawn will help you save money on your water bill.

  1. Purify Rain Gutters

If you want to keep your roof free of ice, then you need to make sure your gutters are clean. To reduce the possibility of water melting and then refreezing on your roof or under your shingles, make sure there is enough drainage.

Furthermore, clean gutters lessen the possibility of infestation and mold growth within your house. Without leaf guards, you may need to make many trips up and down the trees to collect all the leaves. While you’re up there clearing out the gutters, keep an eye out for any trouble spots that might mean the trees in your yard need to be pruned.

  1. Trim Trees

Walk around the perimeter of your property and take a careful look at the trees. Have you spotted any trees that would cause a power outage if they fell? Do you spot any branches that might fall and damage your automobile in the event of a snowstorm?

You should take the opportunity now to prune any dead or brittle branches that can pose difficulties during the next winter storms. It’s much simpler to prune the trees while the weather is warm than when it’s freezing.

  1. Check your snowblower and stock up on supplies.

An electric snow blower is almost a need if you reside in an area that receives a significant amount of snowfall each year. Make sure it runs by filling it with gas and turning it on. Check the condition of your shovel and, if necessary, get a new one, as well as some salt or sand for the driveway.

These essentials are typically sold out in advance of a major snowstorm because people wait until the first significant snowfall to get them.

  1. Examine for Leaks

The drop in temperature at night has made it easier to spot drafts in your house. Look for air gaps and fix them before the cold sets in. Explore your home on a cold night by walking about and feeling for drafts around the various openings such as doors, windows, lights, and switch plates.

A warm home is losing heat if you feel chilly air sneaking in. Weather-stripping, caulk, or spray foam may be used to seal these spaces, or insulation may be installed. I understand that this may seem like a bothersome task; after all, these seemingly little drips can’t possibly matter, right?

So, it all balances out. Sealing air leaks around your home can improve your home’s energy efficiency and save you up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling bills, according to Energy Star.

  1. Examine Your Furnace Filter

It’s a good idea to inspect the filter before firing up the furnace in case it needs to be changed. Replace the filter in your furnace if it appears unclean. Every four to six weeks during the colder months, I change the filter in my furnace.

Your furnace will operate more effectively and use less energy if the filter is clean. Planet Green claims that a clean filter may reduce heating costs by 5-15%.

And if you haven’t already, think about installing a programmable thermostat in your home. During the colder months of the year, you may save money on heating costs by installing a programmable thermostat and setting it to only turn on when necessary. There are a variety of green energy technologies available today that may be used to enhance your house, and this is just one of them.

  1. Insulate the hot water heater and pipes.

Have you taken the time to insulate the water pipes and the water heater? If your water pipes are in an unheated or cold basement, completing this simple job might significantly reduce your water heating expenditures this winter.

You may get an additional two to four degrees of hot water temperature by insulating your pipes, as reported by the Department of Energy (DOE). You may receive steaming hot water while using less of the precious resource, water.

The Department of Energy also claims that water heating expenses may be reduced by between 4 and 9 percent through the use of insulation on the water heater itself.

  1. Insert Insulation

One of the greatest methods to save energy all year round, according to the DOE, is to install insulation. When the temperature outside drops in the winter, you’ll be glad you added insulation to your home. Excellent news, right? It’s not hard to install insulation in the attic.

Although I’m not very good at it, I managed to finish a home renovation job in the dead of winter two years ago without any major problems. With the added insulation, I was able to reduce the number of times I had to turn on the heat throughout the winter. The best part is that this renovation really raises the value of your property.

How do you tell whether your insulation is adequate or if you need to add more? Insulation Fact Sheet from the DOE will help you determine the ideal amount of insulation (R-value) for your home based on your location. In order to properly insulate a house, an attic has to be finished with 12-15 inches of insulation.

  1. Cleaning Your Chimney

Most likely, you haven’t used your fireplace since last winter. You should have a professional clean your chimney before the first cold night of the season.

A thorough annual cleaning of your fireplace not only improves its ability to keep your home warm in the winter, but also reduces the risk of fire in your home. An hazardous chimney is one that has experienced a chimney fire, has deposits built up inside it, or has animals nesting inside it. Having your chimney professionally cleaned once a year will greatly reduce your house fire hazards.

To avoid the rush, contact a chimney cleaning service well in advance of the season’s expected low temperatures. That way, you may light your first fire of the season as soon as possible.

Bottom Line

Home renovation projects in the fall may be a source of dread. Despite the fact that many individuals are quite busy throughout the autumn, it might be tempting to spend your leisure time outside in the garden basking in the sun.

Most of these tasks are not difficult, and the results are well worth your time. If you don’t take care of these activities in the autumn, you’ll likely have to bundle up and do them when snow starts falling, when the cold and wind can make the work more difficult and unpleasant.

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