If you live anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line, you know how fast winter can creep into your life. First it’s Halloween, and before you can say “Black Friday Sale,” there’s a blizzard warning. This doesn’t just affect your holiday shopping patterns. It also affects your home.
Here are a few easy ways to get your home ready for winter.
1. Check your furnace
Regularly check your heating equipment for dirt and sediment buildup. The easiest way to do this is to schedule a professional maintenance inspection. Other maintenance can include cleaning and/or changing your system’s air filters.
Open vents near the floor and close those near the ceiling for better air circulation. Close off parts of your home you don’t use often, to heat busy rooms with less cost.
3. Unclog Gutters
After the leaves have fallen and the trees are bare, clean out your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause ice to build up, and create even bigger problems, like leaks inside your home. Make sure attic insulation doesn't cover ventilation vents in the eaves (also called soffits or overhangs).
4. Test Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 80 people die each year in the United States from carbon-monoxide poisoning caused by malfunctioning heating systems. Even if you have recently had your system cleaned and inspected it’s not worth taking a chance.
5. Ceiling Fans
Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create a draft that sends warm air from the ceiling to the floor. This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings -- and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.
6. Seal Windows
An easy and inexpensive way to save on energy costs is to caulk around your window frames before it gets too cold outside. This will keep more heat inside your home, saving you money on energy throughout the winter. You can also set your thermostat a few degrees cooler, and wear more blankets and sweaters around the house. The lower temps could translate into more money in your pocket.
7. Create new habits
On sunny days, open all curtains on east, south and west facing windows. This will let the sunlight heat your home, instead of your heater. Do the opposite in the summer to keep rooms cooler.