Winter-Proof Your House

Stay warm during the cooler months with these minor home repairs.

It’s not cheap to heat a home. Utility bills in the winter can skyrocket, putting a strain on your budget. If you’re tired of cold spots, drafts, and wearing hats and gloves in your home when the temperature drops, you’re in luck! There are simple ways you can make your home better at retaining heat and keeping the cold air outside where it belongs.

Before chilly weather sets in, take these steps to winter-proof your abode. Your family and your wallet will thank you.

Insulate the Attic

Heat rises. This means the warm air you pay for rises to your ceiling and if it doesn’t get trapped there, it escapes into your attic. Inspect your entire attic to see if it has adequate insulation. Adding insulation to your attic floor can save you hundreds of dollars each year in heating and air costs. You can buy the kind you lay between ceiling joists or the loose-fill kind that a professional will blow in.

Seal Leaks

Cracks around your windows and doors may be small, but they can let in a lot of cold air. Foam weather stripping is cheap, easy to install, and can save you money. Not sure you have any air leaks? When it’s dark, shine a flashlight around windows and doors with someone on the other side watching for light coming through. Wherever light breaks through, you’ve got a leak to plug.

Air leaks can also be found around pipes, chimneys, attic entrances, and light fixtures if not installed properly, so cover and seal any cracks or openings to preserve your heat.

Upgrade the Thermostat

Switching to a programmable thermostat is an effective way to save on your energy bill. When you’re gone during the day or asleep at night, program your heat to turn down for a certain amount of time. Then program it to cut back on a few hours before you wake up or come home so the house is warm when you need it.

Service Your Heating System

At the beginning of the season change, schedule a routine service of your heating system. This is a simple way to make sure your heater, furnace, or boiler is working efficiently. Change out your furnace filter and clean your heating ducts as needed.

Switch to LED

The light they emit is brighter and whiter so it may take time to get used to, but as you’re decorating for the holidays this year consider switching to LED bulbs. They last up to 25 times longer, use 75 to 99 percent less energy, and are also safer to use since they stay cooler than older light bulbs. Unplug your holiday lights before bed to save even more on your electric bill.

Cover Windows

Anyone with single-paned windows or an old home is likely to feel drafty air around the windows. Keep the cold air out and the warm air in by hanging heavy plastic sheeting over the windows frames. Too unsightly for your taste? Hang attractive insulated drapes or shades over drafty windows instead.

Consider the Fireplace

If your fireplace and chimney are open, heat is just rushing out of your house. Unless a fire is burning, be sure to close the damper. When the fireplace is in use, keep the doors of the room closed. A fireplace that’s never used should have the chimney flue plugged and sealed.