When cold temperatures threaten, it’s time to take steps toward winterizing your home. The time for action is before temperatures dip into the single digits, and things like frozen or burst water pipes can cause major damage to your home or business. Your personal belongings and treasures can be quickly ruined forever from being exposed to excess water caused by burst pipes. If you are wondering just what you should do to protect your home, belongings, and property during the winter months, we have some home winterization tips for you.
Tip #1: Change furnace filters. If you have a central air and heating system, it is very important to replace your filters once a month. Dirty filters can inhibit the flow of air through your system, and can increase energy demand, thereby increasing your electric bill. Mark your filter with the date it was installed, and place a check on your calendar every month to remind yourself to change it.
Tip #2: Change the direction of ceiling fans. Many of us think about our ceiling fans only during the hot summer months when we want to stay cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. During the hotter months, the blades should be circulating counterclockwise to cool the air, and when winter hits, switching the direction to a clockwise rotation makes it warmer. Since hot air rises, the clockwise motion helps move the warmer air near the ceiling back down into the room, warming the air and reducing your heating bill.
Tip #3: Reduce or eliminate drafts. Since drafts can waste anywhere from 5 to 30 percent of your energy use, according to the Department of Energy, you want to reduce or eliminate them as much as possible. Something as simple as a rolled up towel placed at the base of a door or window can do the trick. Before winter hits, check the caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows as well.
Tip #4: Winterize your air conditioner. To prevent frozen water in your air conditioning unit, drain any hoses and pipes, and remove any have excess water inside the unit. If your A/C has a separate water shutoff valve, turn it off. Check for any water leaks around the place, and remove any window A/C units and place them in storage for the winter. Remember to check the window after the unit is removed, and replace any caulking or weather stripping which has been damaged.
Tip #5: Insulate your windows. Grab a window insulation kit at your local home goods, hardware, or discount store. For just a few dollars, these economical plastic insulation kits are a great way to save on your energy bill during the winter. They act as an invisible buffer against cold winter air, and can give a nice boost to your home's ability to hold heat. If your windows are old, consider investing in a set of efficient windows, which may pay you back by way of a federal tax credit come next spring.