Prepare Your Home for Winter by Caulking Your Windows

Tips for Winterizing Your Home for Energy Efficiency

With the lower temperatures and snow piles of winter come the reality of increased energy bills. Even if you love cold-weather activities, you won't appreciate the added financial stress that comes with heating your home. Getting your home ready for winter is a crucial task to help reduce energy costs in cold weather. Increase the energy efficiency of your home this season by following our winter home preparation checklist.

1. Insulate Your Windows

This is one of the easiest ways to keep the warm air in your house from leaking out. Virtually every hardware store sells plastic indoor window insulator kits that are inexpensive and easy to install.

2. Check for Air Leaks

One of the most effective ways to winterize your home and guard it from cold temperatures is to prevent cold air from getting in. Walk around indoors and outdoors looking for cracks or holes near any window or door. Check seals by closing a dollar between a window or door and its frame. If you can easily pull the dollar out, it’s time to replace the seal. A tube of silicone-based caulk or weather stripping can easily seal these gaps.

3. Rotate Ceiling Fans Clockwise

It's a basic fact that hot air rises, which means you can waste a lot of money heating the ceilings and other areas above your family's heads. Reverse your ceiling fans so that they rotate clockwise, pushing hot air down to the living spaces.

4. Seal Off Unused Rooms

Some folks feel it helps to close off a room nobody uses instead of paying to heat it. Install insulation around the windows and the inside of the door and add a draft guard to the bottom of the door to make sure the cold air inside doesn't seep into the rest of the house.

Keep in mind that closing central heating vents in these rooms will actually make your central heater less energy-efficient, so stick to room heaters when using this method.

5. Insulate Your Basement

Your basement can really eat up a lot of energy, simply because the heat pumped into them naturally wants to rise and escape. For this reason alone, it's vital that the walls and windows are properly insulated, even in unfinished basements. Rolls of fiberglass insulation are the most efficient solution.

6. Change the Furnace Filter

A new filter is one of the easiest ways to ensure your heating system works efficiently. Replacing a filter not only optimizes performance of your furnace, it improves the longevity, too. And at barely $10 a filter, there's no excuse not to invest in a new one.

7. Unplug Unused Electronics

Home appliances have a large impact on your home's monthly electric bill. To cut these expenses, unplug all non-essential appliances including computers, televisions, entertainment systems, and microwaves when not in use. This will eliminate the costs associated with standby power and protect the electronics from power surges.

8. Winterize Your Central Heater

Having a professional examine your furnace is the best way to ensure it's ready for the winter ahead. Schedule an appointment with a licensed HVAC technician ahead of time to avoid the winter rush.

Set your thermostat to 68F when everyone is home and try a lower setting when everyone is away or sleeping. Bundle up with blankets and winter clothing to stay comfortable without using your heater.

If you plan to take a winter trip, it's best to set your home's thermostat at 50F, according to Popular Mechanics. This will keep your home warm enough to prevent any frozen pipes while minimizing the energy expenditure.

9. Prepare Your Yard

Mowing might no longer be a concern, but you do need to prepare the yard for the winter weather.

Clean the gutters as this helps prevent ice dams that could cause melting snow to seep into your home instead flowing efficiently away from it.

Check the foliage on your property, paying special attention to anything near your home. If a tree or any of its branches look aged or diseased, remove them. Otherwise, the weight of the snow could cause the tree or branch to fall on your home and cause considerable damage.

Winter can feel very long and preparing for it is crucial. These key tips will help you save money in the winter by maximizing your home's energy efficiency before the cold weather arrives.

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