Winterizing Your Home

Posted: 9/27/2011

We're on our way to the blustery days of winter and it's time to winterize your home. You can save money for that mid-February Caribbean vacation, as well as prevent damage, by adopting some very simple practices before the freezing temps hit the Midwest.

Get Rid of the Draft

Obviously, energy-efficient windows are a wise investment. Look for the Energy Star label on windows that are lined with special coatings that reflect heat and provide insulation, keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and saving you money on energy bills.

However, if you have not installed energy-efficient windows, seal drafts around your windows and doors. It helps to keep your home warm and cozy - and cut your heating costs - by preventing the escape of heat. To find leaks, light a candle and hold it front of windows and door seams; the flame will flicker in drafty spots. Weather stripping can also help seal the drafts. Feel free to check out this video on how to seal your windows.

Drafts can also seep in through your electrical outlets and let heat escape. Insulated electrical outlet plates are simple to install, cost around 2 dollars and will help save energy this winter.

Turn on the heat - and then what?

As temps start to cool, resist the urge to turn up the heat to high. Save energy and money by using an age old strategy...add a sweater...and keep the thermostat turned off as long as possible. But if you need to use your heat, you can also save energy by lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees at night - it can save 10 percent of energy costs. Trap the sunlight heat during the day by opening south-side curtains, and closing them after dark. If your unit uses radiator heat, turn it off.  Each radiator has to be either on or off.. turn some valves completely off to save money. Also, set your thermostat to 50 degrees when out of town to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Did you know that properly using a programmable thermostat in your home is one of the easiest ways you can save energy, money, and help fight global warming? A programmable thermostat helps make it easy for you to save by offering pre-programmed settings to regulate your home's temperature in winter - when you are asleep or away.

In the winter, ceiling fans recirculate heat into living areas and can reduce your energy bill by 10 percent. Reverse the fan motor; use the forward setting in the summer to blow cool air down and the reverse setting in cold weather.

Don't forget the exterior!

One way to prepare for winter on the exterior of your unit is to empty the water in sprinklers and outside spigots to prevent pipes and hoses from freezing.

Keep these simple practices in mind to ensure a safe and warm home for the coming winter.