Winterizing your home to prepare for the cold season can help make your place more energy efficient, which is good for both the environment and your bank account. While outdoor winterization is important, prepping indoors is just as crucial. Here are 10 simple steps you can take to get the inside of your house ready for Old Man Winter.
Check your insulation situation. Quality insulating is one of the best ways to keep cold drafts out of your house. Your attic should have a minimum of 12 inches of insulation. If you’ve got less than this, add a new layer. The price will vary depending on the type of insulation you choose and how much you need, but you’ll get it back in the money you save on energy costs.
Make sure your ducts are properly connected and insulated. The U.S. Department of Energy says that 60 percent of heated air may be lost before it reaches air vents due to poorly connected or poorly insulated ductwork. To make sure your ducts are functioning at their best, examine them for defects and repair any gaps, holes or pinched areas. You should also vacuum them to remove any accumulated animal hair, dust or other gunk that has made its way inside.
Check the furnace and change your filters. Don’t wait until the first freeze to make sure your furnace is working. Turn it on in the fall to ensure that it’s functioning properly. For about $100 to $125, you can have an HVAC professional inspect the furnace and point out any possible issues. You should also put in a new filter and plan on checking the filter once a month to make sure it’s clean and air is flowing through unimpeded.
Insulate your pipes. There’s nothing worse in the dead of winter than having to deal with a frozen pipe that’s burst. Prevent this from happening by purchasing pipe foam to wrap around your pipes. You can pick this up at most hardware stores and then cut it to fit your pipes.
Swap out screens for storm windows and doors. It was nice having screens in your windows and doors to let in the summer breezes, but now it’s time to trade those screens out for something more heavy-duty. Installing storm windows and doors in place of the screens will help keep cold air out and warm air in, saving you up to 45 percent on your heating bill.
Accessorize your windows even more. After the storm windows are in place, you can take winterization to the next level by using caulking and weather stripping around the frame to help reduce drafts. You can also trade out lightweight summer curtains for thicker blackout curtains that will keep heat inside.
Change the direction on your ceiling fans. Most ceiling fans are equipped with a switch that will change the direction of the fan. Flip the switch so the fan spins clockwise, which will push warm air down and recirculate it throughout your home.
Make some adjustments to your chimney. Hiring a chimney sweep to inspect your chimney once a year is a good idea to make sure everything is functioning correctly, however, you can make a couple of adjustments yourself. Start by purchasing a chimney cap with a screen that will keep foreign objects from entering the chimney, which can cause damage. Also, make sure that the damper is closed when you’re not using the chimney, which will help keep cold air from coming inside.
Reduce drafts under doorways. Keep cold air from coming in under exterior doors by fitting the entrances with a “draft snake.” A draft snake is a long, tubular piece of fabric filled with sand that will prevent drafts from coming inside.
Move furniture off vents and close up rooms that aren’t in use. Making sure your furniture isn’t covering vents may sound like a no-brainer, but you should still give the rooms in your home a once over to ensure that warm air can flow through uninhibited. You should also close up the vents in any rooms that aren’t in use, which will reduce your energy costs even more. Also, close the doors to rooms that aren't in use when the heater is on. There's no point in warm air traveling to uninhabited rooms.