10 Unexpectedly Easy Ways to Winterize Your Home
It’s that time of year again. The wind is whipping, the thermometer is dropping, and snow is piling up outside. Before we get too deep into the winter season, it’s important to prepare your home for the change in weather. Doing so can help lower your energy bills, prevent damage to your home, and keep you toasty all winter long. By burning less energy to heat your newly winterized home, the planet will thank you, too. We’ve brainstormed 10 unexpectedly easy ways to winterize your home - a couple of them may surprise you!
#1 Change your fan to go clockwise. Most fans spin counterclockwise, but many have a setting to make them rotate clockwise instead. Doing this creates an updraft that circulates heat better than it does going counterclockwise. This might be the easiest tip ever yet it’s one that many homeowners don’t know about.
#2 Replace filters and clean vents. You should be replacing your HVAC filters on a regular basis anyways, but if you don’t, consider this is the time to do it. A clean filter means easier airflow and greater efficiency. Same idea goes for the vents (clean them out). New HVAC filter replacements are cheap - as little as $10, or get a permanent filter to cut down on waste.
#3 Insulate! Make sure all of the important places (attics, basement, exterior walls, crawlspace, etc.) are properly insulated with quality material. If you are looking for an eco alternative to traditional insulation, try looking into recycled denim or wool insulation. This tip is where you’ll see huge savings!
#4 Get a smart thermostat. Your next eco-purchase should be a high-tech thermostat that knows when to turn up and down, ultimately saving energy. You don’t need the heat turned way up while you’re sleeping or at work, so investing in a thermostat that learns your schedule, like the ecobee3, means you don’t have to remember to do it manually (plus it can pre-heat you house before you get home from work!). If you don’t have the money for one of these home automation gadgets right now, just program your existing thermostat accordingly.
#5 Try a window insulation film kit. This is basically using plastic shrink-wrap to completely seal up your windows. It may not be the prettiest solution, and keep in mind that you can’t open your windows until you take it off, but it’s an inexpensive trick to try!
#6 Draft Guard Your Door. There will always be a minuscule crack between the door and the floor, and it can sneakily let cold air in and warm air out. Buy a draft guard for exterior doors (they’re only about $10) or shove a rolled up towel at the bottom of the door for now.
#7 Install storm doors and windows. Take off your summer screens and replace them with the glass panes. This gives you another layer of glass protection from freezing temps and cold winter winds.
#8 Wrap Your Pipes: Pipes that freeze and burst can do a lot of damage, but take comfort that you can prevent it from happening! It’ll also help you out energy-wise because warm pipes mean that your water heater won’t have to work as hard to get hot water through to you (versus icy pipes that cool the water before it gets to your faucet). Read on for more tips on how to do it.
#9 Flush out the water heater. To keep your water heater as efficient as possible, take the time to flush the water through the drain valve. Sediment and other tiny materials can settle in the bottom over time and need to be cleared out every so often. Check out this how-to before trying it.
#10 Clean Your Gutters: Get that junk out of those gutters! Leaves and debris quickly clog up your gutter, making it hard for precipitation to flow through them. In late November or early winter, once most of the leaves are down, do one last cleaning. This will keep rain and melted snow from building up and also prevent huge icicles from forming.
We could go on and on with more tips, but here are just a few extras:
- Repair ducts and insulate them
- Get a chimney balloon
- Plant conifer trees to function as a windbreak
- Buy thermal curtains
- Use weather-stripping tape on windows and doors
- Caulk gaps in siding, doors, and windows
Now you can look forward to staying cozy, lowering your energy bill, and reducing your carbon footprint all winter long! Do you have any secretly easy ways to winterize your home? Leave us a comment below!