Keep the cold out, the heat in, and your energy bill down with these cost-effective tips for winterizing your home.
By Kristina Grosspietsch
Clean Your Gutters!
- You’ve heard it before, but we can’t stress this enough. Making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later.
Cost: Other than your sweat and time, free.
Flush the Water Heater
2. Particles and sediment can collect over time in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit’s efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater functioning at its best. Cost: 100% free if you do it yourself!
Clockwise Ceiling Fans
3. Fans are everyone’s favorite summer budget-saver. But they can help out in the winter as well! Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction so they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor. If they’re going counterclockwise, they won’t be as effective. Cost: free if you have a fan.
Window Insulation Film
4. It may not be the most fashionable tip, but window insulation film can keep up to 70% of heat from leaking out of the windows. You won’t mind the appearance when you’re toasty warm in your house! Cost: $5 to $15 per kit.
5. In a drafty room, heat escapes under the door. When winterizing your house, place draft guards by the doors to prevent heat loss. It’s a simple solution that keeps your house warm and saves you from wasting energy. Cost: $10 to $20 or free if you place a rolled towel at the bottom of the door.
6. Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating system can significantly improve its efficiency and longevity, while easing the pressure on your wallet. Cost: $20 to $35 for a pack of filters.
7. Drafts and air leaks increase your heating costs, so make sure your windows and doors are sealed tight with weatherstripping. Simple, easy, and smart. Cost: $5 to $10 per rollG
8. For maximum heat retention, pack fiberglass insulation around basement doors, windows in unused rooms, and window AC units. Make sure your attic floor is insulated, too. Just remember to be careful and wear gloves! Cost: around $25 per roll.
9. The US Department of Energy says you can save as much as 1% on your energy bill for every degree you lower your home’s temperature during the winter. Install a programmable thermostat now and save money by keeping the temp down when you’re not at home. Cost: prices vary from basic versions for around $35 to $60 to smart-home options in the $100 to $200 range.
Just Caulk It
10. Any remaining gaps in siding, windows, or doors can be filled with caulk. For extra drafty windows and doors, caulk the inside too, pulling off moldings to fill all gaps in the insulation. Cost: $10 for a caulk gun and less than $5 for a tube of caulk.
11. Your chimney is a huge source of heat loss come wintertime. If not in active use, plug it up with a chimney balloon when winterizing your home to keep drafts out and heat in. Cost: $25 to $60 depending on the size of the balloon.
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Source: Bob Vila’s Website