Here’s the bad news: The days are growing shorter and nights are getting colder. The good news? Winterizing your home can be done without spending a lot of money! In some cases, it just takes a little bit of time.
Here are 10 ways to keep the heat in, your energy bill down and make sure your property is ready for the colder months:
1) Clean your gutters – Home experts stress making sure water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later. So, while the weather still isn’t too bad get up there and clean out leaves and other debris. An added bonus? It may also be a great time to put those Christmas lights up while the weather is still warmer.
2) Flush the water heater– Your unit’s efficiency can be affected by particles and sediment that settle in the bottom of your water heater over time. You can flush the water through the drain valve into a bucket to clear out the material and keep your unit functioning at its best. And, it costs nothing. In some cases, your water heater may be serviced by a company so just call them!
3) Press ceiling fans into service – People often use ceiling fans to keep their rooms cool in the summer. But did you know they can also help out in colder weather? Set your fans to move in a clockwise direction so they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor. There’s a switch on the fixture itself or, if you have a remote, you should be able to reverse the direction from there.
4) Use draft guards- Do you have cold drafts seeping in under your doors in a drafty room? Place draft guards under the door. The cost is minimal. One retailer – Canadian Tire – sells them for $10. It’s a simple solution that helps keep your home warm.
5) Replace furnace filters– Changing your furnace filters in your central and heating system will greatly improve its longevity. They can be bought in packs or as a single filter and the cost varies depending on your filter – anywhere from $14 for a single to $50 for a package. If you have a re-useable filter, now is the time to clean it.
6) Be weather stripping-wise– This is a economical way to ensure your doors and windows are sealed tight. A roll can cost as little as $14. Another option is to use window insulation film. It may not look fashionable, but it can keep up to 70 per cent of the heat inside.
7) Fiberglass insulation – Insulation can be packed around basement windows, windows in rooms that aren’t used and window air conditioning units. Your attic floor should be insulated too. Rolls vary in cost, depending on their size and R value. R-value is essentially a product’s resistance to heat flow which means that the higher the product’s R-value, the better it is at insulating the home and improving energy efficiency. If you’re going to do the job yourself, be sure to wear gloves.
8) Get caulking - Any remaining gaps in siding, windows, or doors can be filled with caulk. If you have extra drafty windows and doors, caulk the inside too by pulling off moldings to fill all gaps in the insulation. Caulk costs about $8 and the caulking gun can be purchased for as little as $10 - $15.
9) Turn off outdoor taps - Remember to turn off your outdoor taps before it freezes. And, make sure you don't have any pipes near exterior walls or exposed without insulation underneath porches or in crawl spaces.
10) Put the garden to bed – Be sure to clean up leaves and other debris. Trim trees and bushes that are close to your home. Store outdoor items that could be damaged if left outside. This effort now will make your job much easier in the spring.
Doing an annual, pre-winter check-up and maintenance can do a lot for your home both in the short and long term. Follow these tips and you’ll be ready before the snow flies!
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