For the majority of us, winter means more than holiday parties and shiny decorations – it also means winter-proofing our homes to protect them from damage and to minimize energy costs.
The season is upon us – no, we’re not talking about jingle bells or holiday gifts… it is time to winter proof our homes! While it is certainly more fun to plan for the holidays and shop till we drop, it is important that we think about all of the ways to effectively and economically winter proof our homes before the first snowflake drops. Whether you live in a large home, a small apartment, or anywhere in between, you’ll want to pay attention to the following winter proofing suggestions to protect your residence and save you money:
Check your furnace
Having your furnace checked costs very little, but waiting until the temperatures outside drop below freezing can be devastating – both economically and to the physical structure of your residence. Have a professional conduct any needed repairs now, replace your furnace filter immediately, and generally make sure that it is in good working order.
Check your residence for leaks
There are three areas that are often considered the leakiest points in the home. Doors, windows, and the garage door are three key areas that should be inspected now to minimize leaks later. You can add weather stripping to exterior doors or along the edges of your garage door, while window frames can be caulked to minimize any leaks between the windows and the wall.
Clean your gutters
This is especially important if your residence is surrounded by large leafy trees that shed their leaves during the fall. You can get up on a ladder and do it yourself (be careful, this is dangerous!), or hire a professional to come clean out your gutters. Either way, doing so will minimize the chances of gutter damage, roof damage, and dangerous ice accumulations in the gutter.
Insulate your pipes
This is especially true for hot water lines that start at your water heater. The water that sits inside the pipes in your residence can cool off quickly, which results in you having to run the hot water tap for a long time to rid the lines of cold water. Pipe insulation is extremely cheap, easy to install, and can save you money in the long run.Invested in sand, not deicer – While many of us stock up on chemical-laden deicers to combat snowy and icy walkways, these concoctions can actually seriously damage concrete and masonry. It can get inside the pores on a concrete driveway or sidewalk, and eventually cause extreme pitting and discoloration. Instead, use traction sand or play sand (it is grittier and provides excellent traction) on sidewalks. It is also gentler on nearby plants and on pet’s paws.
Winterizing your residence this year doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – and it doesn’t have to be hard! Follow these five key steps above and you’ll not only minimize the hassle and inconvenience related to cold, icy temperatures, but you will likely save money at the same time!