Winter can be harsh even on homes in warmer regions, like Florida and Georgia. Not to mention, leaks in the attic or uninsulated pipes can lead to high energy bills that put a damper on the holiday season and your money-saving resolutions in the coming year.
Use these tips to prep your home for winter – your home and bank account will thank you.
1. Seal Attic Air Leaks
When prepping your home for fall, you may take time to caulk your windows, but don’t stop there. Air leaks in your attic can can have a significant impact on how well your house retains heat. According to HouseLogic, up to 30 percent of a home’s heating and cooling is lost because of air leaks.
When looking for leaks, pay attention to gaps of all sizes, from those that are bigger than 1/4-inch, which require more than just caulking, to sealing small cracks around your chimney and flues.
Don’t forget to weatherstrip the attic access door. House Logic suggests caulking between the hatch frame and the rough opening or installing foam weatherstripping around the hatch opening.
2. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Did you know that the average single family home can save up to $180 per year with a programmable thermostat? Having a thermostat that can be programmed allows you to save money because you can:
- Pre-set times for turning the heater on and off. No more forgetting in the morning and then running the heat all day.
- Set heating zones around the house. Now you can heat only the areas you use most, rather than keeping that guest bedroom warm all winter long with no visitors.
The onset of winter is the perfect time to install a new thermostat. Check out PC Mag’s ranking of the top brands to find the best option for your home.
3. Wash All Your Blankets
Washing blankets every few months is a good seasonal habit to form, especially as colder months approach. You may not have used many of your heavy blankets yet, but all blankets—not just your comforter—easily collect bacteria, pet hair, allergens, and dirt particles. Give everything a good wash before it gets too cold so you have fresh, clean blankets to start the winter.
This is especially important to do before holiday guests arrive. You don't want to inadvertently pass along germs to your visitors!
4. Insulate Your Pipes
As hot water flows through cold pipes, they cool the water and waste heat. To avoid this wasted warmth, insulate the pipes between the hot water heater and the wall, and the first three feet of cold water pipes after they enter the house.
This is easier to do than you might think. Money Talk News explains that you can find snap-on insulating sleeves (think: pre-slit, hollow-core, flexible foam pipe insulation) at hardware stores. Just measure your pipes' diameters before you shop.
5. Trim Back Trees and Branches
Even if you live in an area that doesn't get snow, it's still smart to trim back branches that are too close to your power lines and house. All it takes is one storm for those branches to cause trouble.
For more home maintenance tips, check out "7 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Roof."
About the Author
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time writer and business owner. She’s written for Reader’s Digest, AARP, Lifehack, and more.