Like it or not, winter is just 10 days away. If you haven’t already prepped your home for winter and freezing temps, there’s still time. Use our handy checklist to make sure you and your home are ready for winter weather:
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans so the blades rotate clockwise. Keep on a low speed to push air down from the ceiling into your room.
- Have your furnace surfaced at the beginning of the season and make sure you change the filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Lower your thermostat or use a programmable thermostat to save on energy costs.
- Remove window screens and install storm windows and doors, if you have them.
- Shut off exterior water sources and cover the faucets to prevent freezing.
- Insulate exposed pipes to prevent burst pipes.
- Insulate your hot water heater.
- Block drafts from doors and windows and seal cracks with door sweeps, door gaskets, calking and weather stripping.
- Have your chimney cleaned annually to decrease your risk of fire and buildup and residue.
- Remove any portable air conditioners and cover condensing units.
- Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and free of debris. This will be particularly helpful when the heavy rains come.
As the temperatures drop this fall, energy and water bills are likely to go up. Here are some ways to save energy at home to offset those higher bills.
- Install a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the heat at night and when you’re away from home.
- Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120° F.
- Insulate your hot water heater, but be sure not to cover the thermostat.
- Air dry dishes instead of using the heated drying cycle in your dishwasher.
- Change to low-flow showerheads in your home.
- Plug electronics into a power strip and turn off the power strip when items like TVs, stereos and computers are not in use.
- Purchase appliances, light bulbs and other home products with the ENERGY STAR® label.
- Seal leaks around doors and windows with caulking and weather stripping.
- Add insulation to your attic, including the attic door or opening.
- Remember to clean or replace furnace filters monthly or as recommended by the manufacturer.
For more energy-saving ideas like these, refer to this Energy Saving Guide or visit EnergySaver.gov.
Burst pipes, astronomical heating bills and drafty doors and windows can make for a long and miserable winter, even in the Pacific Northwest. Though our winters are milder than much of the country, there are still some preventative measures we can take to ensure that we remain comfortable throughout the season and save money in the process.
- Use a programmable thermostat to regulate your home’s temperature and lower heating bills. Lower your home’s temperature any time you’ll be asleep or away from home more than a few hours.
- Reduce air leaks and drafts by adding insulation to walls, crawl spaces and even floors. Caulk windows, replace weather stripping, install storm windows and/or cover windows in plastic to reduce energy loss and keep your home warmer.
- Install glass doors on your fireplace to keep warm air inside.
- If you have ceiling fans, reverse them to go clockwise. The fan will push warm air downward instead of drawing it up toward the ceiling.
- Change your furnace filters monthly, according to manufacturer specifications.
- Disconnect your outdoor hose, shut off the water valve, drain the spigot and cover it with a Styrofoam cover.
For more helpful tips, read the full article by Katy Read and Christy Desmith at HouseLogic.com.