Winterize Your Home To Protect Your Investment
The winter is upon us, meaning chapped lips, wind burnt noses and tongues stuck to flag poles. But while the winter weather is hard on us, it is also hard on our houses. However, there are multiple ways to make sure your house is prepared for the long, cold nights and windswept days. Here is a list of things to do to winterize your house:
- Cover up those drafts—Many homes—especially older ones—have drafty doors and windows. A cheap solution would be to stuff a towel in the spots where the draft is coming in. Hardware stores also sell draft blockers that are a little more attractive than an old green towel jammed in the jamb.
- Change your furnace filters—Yes, we all forget about these little beauties. I myself never think about them unless my wife starts complaining about how hot or cold it is in the house. Naturally, if the little buggers are clogged with dust, the furnace has to work that much harder to blow out the heat or air conditioning. A general rule of thumb is to change them every three months during the fall, summer and spring and once a month during the winter. As far as how much you want to spend, that is completely up to you. If you want the HEPA filters—which supposedly are better than normal old filters—it’s going to cost a little more. And if you want a permanent filter, well, get a loan, because they can cost up to $1,000.
- Run your ceiling fans in reverse—Guess what? Every ceiling fan has a dandy little black switch on the base that lets you change the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation makes cooling breezes while clockwise blades causes air to pool at the ceiling, which can reduce your energy costs.
- Turn down the water heater—Most people don’t know this (and neither did I until I looked it up), but when an installer puts in a new water heater, they set the temperature to 140 degrees. Unless you like your showers as hot as a volcano, lower that sucker to at least 120 degrees to save on energy costs.
- Install storm doors and windows—While many houses have storm doors, some don’t. So if you don’t, put one in, because a storm door seals drafts and reduces air flows. While nobody I know has storm windows, if you do, get them out as well. My parents were satisfied with a film of plastic across their windows but if you don’t think that look is good for your house, window it up.
- Watch the thermostat—Easy peasy, right? Well, do it then. When you leave the house, turn it up. The dogs aren’t paying for it, so don’t waste the extra couple of degrees on them. They can snuggle together for their warmth. Even better, get a smart thermostat and set it so it knows when you are home and when you aren’t.
- Get a tune up for your heating system—Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted can save you a lot of money on heating bills. Many utilities offer free checkups by technicians, but book early, because when heating season comes, they book up faster than a mall Santa on Friday night. Some dealers and furnace manufacturers even offer discounted inspections.
- Use caulk and weatherstripping—Slap some caulk on it and weatherstrip the heck out of it. Gaps and leaks can really take the sails out of your home heating budget so look for places where two different building materials meet, such as corners around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and around the foundation. This little tip can save you some serious cash.
These are just some of the things you can do to winterize your St. Louis house. Now you should have some extra cash lying around to spend on the family this Christmas.