The Winter season is quickly approaching and it soon will become incredibly necessary to take some needed steps to best prep your home. Not only can making certain changes keep your home warm but there are also many opportunities for saving money and energy as well.
Did you know? Annual Winter storms cause roughly $1 Billion in property damage. There is so much more to report on so please have a look to the following for some helpful tips that you may consider for the upcoming season.
- Turn down the Thermostat - 2-3% of energy costs can be saved from lowering your thermostat by just one degree. 10% can be saved from putting the temperature from 72 degrees to 65 degrees for just eight hours per day. Perhaps this makes sense for when individuals are at work for the day and if appropriate for their lifestyle will save them big in the long-run.
- Improve your Windows - As replacing windows with brand new energy efficient ones may be more expensive for some, it would be advantageous for all to nonetheless update your existing ones. Ensure that your windows are closed, caulk any gaps or cracks, use weather strips and window sweeps to have better seals.
- Preserve your furnace or boiler - Gas systems and heat pumps need maintenance every two years while systems that run on oil need to be serviced every year. Not much spending goes into buying a new filter and it is something that can truly lower your energy costs.
- Close dampers when not using your fireplace - Not only does having your dampers open bring in cold air from outside but more importantly if kept open they let the heat out that you have paid for.
- Let the heat reach you - Keep furniture and other objects away from your furnace duct openings, baseboard heaters and vacuum radiators. In addition, remember to always dust and clean these heating elements as having no filth or obstructions in the way allows the heat to reach you and become more effective.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors - Many heating devices within the home increases the risk for toxins leaking out into the living spaces. Having proper Carbon Monoxide detectors allows the homeowner to breathe easy. It is also imperative not to use kitchen stoves or to burn coal in a fireplace as both heating techniques can produce the deadly Carbon Monoxide gas.
- Keep the Cold out and Warmth in - Make sure to seal up borders between specific living spaces where heat is more desired to be kept in. Also look to the attic and the basement and ensure that valuable heat is not going to these perhaps unwanted or less lived in areas. Sealing the gaps and putting in additional insulation is something that is very easily done by yourself or of course by a professional at a very reasonable cost.
- Save Electricity - Energy Star appliances can save one a great deal of money every year. When buying products for your home, make sure to look for the Energy Star label when deciding on specific models. Home Performance Energy Star Contractors can also be hired who can save you upwards of 30% on energy bills with their guidance. Energy Star light bulbs in particular use up 75% less electricity than traditional bulbs. Many forms of electronic equipment use up a great deal of electricity even when turned off as they are still plugged in. It thus becomes appropriate to unplug devices when not in use or even utilize a power strip that can be switched off for all of the items plugged into it.
- Freezing Water - Often as water freezes around our property it can cause quite the substantial risk. Frozen pipes often cause immense amounts of pressure leading to bursting pipes. Bursting pipes, water hoses and sprinklers have the propensity for flooding and if ones home does not have flood insurance, obvious financial problems arise. Thats certainly not the way we envision spending our Holidays. Inspecting, sealing and insulating pipes are an ideal solution to avoiding this unfortunate predicament.
- Tree Trimming - While snow covered trees are a beautiful sight to behold, they do pose the threat of breaking and falling due to the weight, especially if already dead. Look to trim back specific trees that are dangerously close to your home, automobiles, pool, driveway or other valuable locations on the property.
- Prepare Roofs - The way to ready your roof to the best of its ability for the snowy season is to check it for leaks and strength and ensure that this is all strong and patched up. In addition, look to clear out gutters and other gathering areas on the roof to prevent clogs and proper drainage systems.
Whether or not this Winter is as mild as it was a year ago, the necessary due diligence for prepping your home must always be done. As we have just learned from Hurricane Sandy, Mother Natures might is relentless and often unpredictable. If a tenant in a home, make certain that your landlord has gone the extra mile to assure you that the property is up to date with its preparations. It is always far more simple and cost efficient to buy the necessary products, appliances and technology for the Winter season before it is in full swing. Do not wait until the last minute, the time to start getting your home organized to protect your wallet, yourself and your family is now.