Think you need a handyman to winterize your home? There are many small things you can do at your home today that will make a difference in your heating bill this winter. With heating costs forecasted to rise again this winter, every little bit will help.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Look for leaks – Are there cold drafty areas in your home? Seek out these places and consider how you might seal or cover these drafty spots. A three dollar tube of caulking can be used to seal around windows and doors. Those storm windows collecting dust in the garage will do wonders to keep the cold air out. An inexpensive pair of lined curtains from a department store will also keep out a lot of cold air. New weather stripping around doors is easy to install and will make a huge difference as well. A window weatherization kit from a home improvement store is a small investment that could save you big bucks on your heating bill.
Bring the air down – Did you know that your ceiling fan operates in two directions? Counter clockwise rotation will generate a nice cooling breeze but clockwise rotation will produce warm air. Look for a small switch on the side of your fan.
Ditch the window A/C – Do you have a window air conditioner in your home? Chances are the cracks around that unit are allowing cold air to stream right into your home! The U.S. Department of Energy advises removing the unit for the winter. They say it can waste five to thirty percent of your total energy usage each winter month.
Consider your furnace –If you do nothing else, change or inspect your furnace filters once a month during the winter heating season. A dirty filter will impact the health and productivity of your furnace. If you have the money, also consider hiring a professional to seal and clean your ductwork every few years. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that about twenty percent of warm air is wasted because of leaks in ductwork.
Other things to do before winter hits:
-Cut the water supply to outdoor fixtures. Drain fixtures and garden hoses to prevent burst water pipes. Be sure to insulate the fixture and exposed pipe while you are at it.
-Take in or protect outdoor furniture, grills or other items you enjoy during the warmer seasons.
– Clean gutters to prevent clogs that might cause rainwater to back up and freeze. Freezing may ruin gutters by causing them to expand and crack.
– Create an emergency kit for your home and car. If the power goes during a winter storm it may be a while before the electric is back or until you can travel somewhere. Your kit should include a battery powered radio, a first aid kit, flashlights, candles and matches, bottled water and non-perishable food. Keep the same items in your car but be sure to add some warm blankets to the car kit.