If you’re a homeowner, you know good and well that getting ready for winter means a lot more than just adjusting the thermostat and breaking out the heavy comforter to snuggle up in at night. The change in temperature affects several factors involving your home.
Perhaps the cooler season inspires you to engage in enjoyable activities, like baking, cooking stews, and lighting up the fireplace. These are all cozy and seasonally appropriate things to do!
But what else needs to be addressed, to prepare your home for winter?
Utility costs continue to rise, and this is a significant factor for all of us- especially those who live in older homes. In addition to the great information provided in this article about reducing heating costs, we at Birdseye Construction want to provide you some information about how to winterize your home.
Needing a general contractor to assist with home repairs? Reach out now and we’ll give you a free service quote.
How to Effectively Winterize Your Home
Take Care of Your Doors
Take a moment to check- how drafty is it around your doors? Weather stripping will eventually wear out, leaving your entryways vulnerable to drafts. This is especially true with older houses that tend to shift, leaving doorways out of alignment from time to time.
While you cannot replace the very foundation your home was built upon, you can be sure your entryways are as airtight as possible. Check the flaps at the bottom of your doors, as well as the padding along the edges, that is meant to seal off minor gaps.
This checkpoint definitely includes sliding glass doors as well. They’re notorious for developing small spaces in the stripping, through which hot or cold air can seep in. While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re pets’ door flaps are up to snuff, with no noticeable tears or weak points in the plastic or borders.
Take Care of Your Windows
Speaking of drafts, you may not be aware of how much air seeps in and out of your windows. This is largely due to thin panes and worn out caulking. Place your hand near- but not right up against- your window. How big of a difference is there between the feel of your hand and the ambient temperature in the room itself?
If it’s significant, you need to take action. Take a close look at the caulking, to check for cracks and torn spots. Determine if it needs to be replaced. If the glass of your window is downright cold on a chilly day, it may also be time to replace it with thicker or double-paned glass.
Take Care of Your Rooms
It may sound silly, but dense rugs and heavy drapes will quite literally “lock in” ambient heat in any given room. Sure, this may seem like an expense you didn’t budget for. But when you think of it in long-term savings, it’s a reasonable venture. And if you were looking for a reason to redecorate the den– well there you are!
Take Care of Your Walls
This may not be an issue for newer homes, but you really do want to make sure the insulation in your walls is solid and intact. But how can you tell as much, without making a mess?
The truth is, there isn’t a way to check like with doors and windows. But you can call in a professional to reinforce your attic and crawl spaces with fresh insulation, just to be safe.
Again, we’re not only addressing energy conservation, but the comfort of those who live in your home. If filling in a few weak spots makes the difference between running the thermostat at 69* versus 74*, because your home is now holding its heat more efficiently- wouldn’t you say that’s worth it?
Take Care of Your Water Heater
Did you know that blanketing your water heater can improve its efficiency in maintaining higher temperatures? With all the long hot baths we love to soak in during the winter, just think how that could save on your energy bills. A simple blanket tailored specifically for your water heater(s) costs as little as $20.
Take Care of Your Fireplace
As critical is it is to keep the flue open if you’re burning a cozy fire, you can imagine how much lost heat will literally go up the chute if you leave it open all the time. You need to make sure it’s closed when the fireplace is not in use, so as to avoid wasted heat and unnecessary electric costs.
Taking Care of Your Thermostat
In addition to getting a yearly service check, you want to pay special attention to the settings on your thermostat during the colder months. Having a modern thermostat with scheduling options is a fantastic way to set up energy conservation in your home. However, even if this isn’t an option, you can still optimize the use of your thermostat.
Sure- maybe you want to crank it up a bit first thing in the morning, or when you breeze in out of the cold right after work. But if you’re mindful about the settings you’re using, as well as other ways to keep your house warm, you can drastically reduce the daily run time of your heater.
While the upfront cost and to-do list may seem like a lot, we’ll encourage you to consider what you can do this season to effectively winterize your home. Many of these items can be easily done on your own, but Birdseye Construction is always ready to help out with any of your home repair projects.