Preparing your home for winter does not have to be difficult but it does require some regular diligence when it comes to maintenance. With the cooler months approaching, there are several things you can do as a homeowner to save money on your energy bill and keep your home warm. In this blog, we will provide some tips on how to winterize your home effectively.
More Than Just Heating
Winter proofing your home goes beyond ensuring your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) unit is ready for the season. It also involves ensuring your home’s roof can handle the rain and snow, that your rain gutters are clear to prevent water damage to your home and that your home’s insulation remains sufficient to keep in the heat. And that is just the start.
Having these projects done not only keeps your house warm but saves you on your electric bill, especially with today’s high home energy costs. Put these and these other projects described below on your home maintenance checklist each year for peace of mind each winter.
Your home’s roof is the first line of defense against the rain, wind, snow, and sun. During the winter months your roof may be vulnerable to cold, harsh weather. According to Redfin.com, high winds, heavy rain and even snowfall can damage your roof's ability to keep the elements from entering inside your home. By scheduling a roof inspection during the summer months, you will ensure that your roof is ready for whatever Mother Nature brings in winter.
The rain gutters on your home allow runoff water to drain from your roof so it does not collect and seep into your home. If the gutters are clogged, water damage could occur during rain or melting snow, according to Bankrate.com. Hire a professional to clean your gutters, especially if you own a two-story home. Or you can do it yourself with a tall ladder, to efficiently clean your gutters, you will require a tool specifically designed for this purpose. There are various options available, such as a gutter scoop or a trowel, both of which can effectively remove debris from your gutters. These tools enable you to scoop out leaves, twigs, dirt, and any other muck that has accumulated over time. Whether you choose to clean your gutters yourself or hire a professional, regular gutter maintenance is crucial to prevent clogs and keep your home protected.
Identify Air Leaks and Needed Insulation
Ensuring your home stays warm requires keeping the warm air in and the cold air out. Check your home for any air leaks at windows and doors. Also check the insulation in your attic and other areas to see if more is needed or if some panels need to be replaced, especially in older homes. Older homes may have insufficient or deteriorated insulation, which can lead to significant heat loss. Inspect the insulation in your attic and determine if it needs to be reinforced or replaced. By taking these measures to assess and address air leaks and inadequate insulation, you can create a more energy-efficient and comfortable living space that will help to keep your home warm during the colder months.
According to energy.gov, any cracks will make your heating system work harder, which means a higher energy bill. Weather stripping and door sweeps can prove effective in preventing warm air from escaping your home, says Lowes.com.
Maintaining your home’s HVAC system will ensure your heating system is operating properly during the cold season and does not work too hard to keep the heat on. Experts recommend you have a professional inspect your HVAC system each year.
There are some things you can do yourself. You can change the air filters in your home. These filters trap dust, food odors and other airborne material that the HVAC ducts draw out of your home. You can replace them with energy-efficient filters that can even save you money, according to energy.gov.
Adjust Your Thermostat
Keeping your home thermostat at the recommended temperatures during the winter will save on your electric and gas bills. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting home thermostats at 68 degrees during the winter months and dropping them down a few degrees when going to sleep. Note that anything lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit may freeze pipes, according to Redfin.com.
We hope these tips will help you prepare your home for this and every winter. If you need funds for new equipment or to hire a professional to do the work, Travis Credit Union can help. Our Eco-Friendly Loan and Go Green Home Loan provides you with funding options for energy-efficient home improvement projects, such as solar energy systems, a new roof or windows, Energy Star appliances, water heating, HVAC systems, whole house fan and more.
As winter approaches visit traviscu.org to learn more about the many ways we can help improve your home for winter, and every season.