Baby it's cold outside!
Owning a home can be expensive, but properly maintaining your home can cut down on those costs . Taking a little time to winterize your home can save you 25% or more on heating bills this winter and save you from untimely expenses.
If you haven't taken time to winterize or weather proof your home, you could be adding up costs by thousands in the long run. Between heating expenses and potential costly repairs, to burst water pipes and other weather induced mishaps, you can rack up from hundreds to thousands of dollars in home maintenance and repair bills.
Of course, If you have the extra cash laying around and are ready to make some big purchases, you can make a huge difference in your home's efficiency. Upgrading to energy efficient home heating/cooling systems, water heaters (water heaters are one of the top energy users in your home) and installing storm windows and doors can save you up to 60% on your utility bills. Keep in mind that this does not exclude you from the yearly maintenance that we are going to cover.
These easy, inexpensive home maintenance tips will not only keep you warm but will also have a big impact on your homes cost this winter. So let's get started.
Weatherproofing exterior doors and windows will not only make a huge difference in your electric or gas bill, but will also keep you cozy all winter long. Weatherstripping the exterior doors will stop the cold winter air from slipping in. An exterior door is any door that opens to the outside of your house.
Weather stripping can range from under $10 for the peel and stick kind to as much as $40 or more for more heavy duty slide in styles. Whether you want to spend a little or a lot, you will be improving your homes efficiency just by applying some kind of weather proofing.
There are several peel and stick weather strip products on the market that are easy to use. It is pretty much a foam tape that you adhere to your door jamb to seal off any cracks that might let air in. These products can be used on interior and exterior doors in your home.
The threshold also needs to be addressed. Replacing your door sweep is cheap (as little as under $15) and easy; this will help eliminate drafts and heat loss. Guards or door sweeps are available in easy slip on styles, peel and stick assortments, and tougher ones that screw in.
It is important to weatherproof all the exterior doors, even if you do not see gaps or cracks, as these doors let in the most cold air.
Interior doors can also be the source of drafts, especially those coming from cooler rooms such as bathrooms and basements. Keep your home cozy by using door draft stoppers.
Once again there are several cheap and easy options for stopping the draft. One of my favorites are the cute stuffed animals with long legs that you stretch along the doors floor gap. Of course these cute little critters work best on doors that are not often opened, since you have to straighten them up in frequently used door ways. A quick online search for door draft stoppers or door sweeps will bring up several options and styles, and an added bonus to these stoppers is some of them are also noise reducers.
Although weatherstripping can be applied to windows to reduce drafts, there is another option. If you do not plan on opening the windows over winter, you can seal the entire window with a plastic film specially made to form a barrier to keep out the cold. These are simple to put up and easily removed when the weather is right to open up your home again.
It is a good idea to re-caulk your windows if the old caulk is cracked and peeling. Remove old caulk, then clean and dry the area well before applying new caulk to the area. Take this time to look for and clean away any mold that might be forming.
Hang winter curtains. Not only does replacing your curtains give a room a fresh new look, but hanging a heavier or thicker curtain will help block the cold throughout the winter and make a room feel cozy.
Avoid freezing water disasters...
Avoid freezing and burst pipes by insulating hot water pipes. Rubber foam pipe covers are quick to install and between $4-$8 for 6ft. They are easy to cut to length and slip right around the pipe.
Disconnect garden hoses and seal any cracks where the faucet comes out of the house using an indoor/outdoor sealant.
A few more things to consider...
If you have a fireplace, make sure you close the flume when not in use. Large amounts of heat can escape through your chimney, and the draft it creates will have your house chilly even with the heat on.
Heating an unused guest room or bonus room is wasteful as far as energy goes. Close vents in rooms that are not used, this redirects the hot air to the rooms that you are using, keeping you toasty in your living spaces.
And the big one....
Having your attic or basement properly insulated is going to make a dramatic difference in your home temperature. This, however, is not cheap! That does not mean you should put it off. If your home is not properly insulated, you can bet that you are racking up a good bit of your homes heating and cooling bills due to this oversight. Take the time to inspect your insulation and adding extra insulation to areas that do not have proper coverage.
Hopefully these tips will help you get ready for the winter and keep your family cozy through the next few months.
Remember preventative maintenance to your home will always pay off in the end.