The season of freezing temperatures is fast approaching. Taking the time to prepare can help you reap significant financial and energy savings. Things like frozen pipes and busted hoses, leaks and drafts, and old or faulty appliances like your hot water heater or HVAC system can cost you time, money, and comfort if you aren't careful. Winterizing your home is vital for preserving energy, saving money, and keeping your household comfortable all winter.
Have your HVAC serviced.
Sure, it’s an upfront expense, but paying to have your HVAC tuned up could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on repairs or replacements down the road.
Pro-tip: turn the heat down when no one is home and consider getting a programmable thermostat to help keep heating costs down.
Drain pipes and hoses.
Now that the temperature has dropped well below comfortable levels, you’re probably not going to use your AC for a few months. To protect it from freezing or breaking over the winter, drain any water from the unit, hoses, and pipes before letting it sit idle all winter long.
Don’t forget to drain any outdoor hoses and turn off the water flow to outdoor spigots. Letting water sit for an extended period of time in freezing temperatures could lead to expensive damage to hoses and pipes.
Insulate water pipes.
Measure and cut insulation materials or simply purchase pre-cut pipe foam at most home improvement stores to keep your water supply insulated and warm.
Add insulation to basements, attics, and between walls.
Heat loss allows your energy bills to creep higher and higher all winter, so replacing or adding more insulation to areas like basements, attics, and other vulnerable areas before the winter weather sets in is a good idea.
Have your ductwork checked.
Having a professional technician ensure your ductwork is sealed properly ensures that heated air isn’t escaping and requiring your heating system to work overtime.
Switch ceiling fans to run in reverse.
In warmer weather, ceiling fans are typically used to create a cool breeze, by circulating cool air through a room, but changing your fans to clockwise rotation allows for warm air to be pulled back down into a room. Keeping warm air circulating back down and around a room helps cut heating costs and increase energy efficiency.
Use draft pillows to control the flow of air through your home.
Use draft stoppers, like this DIY version, to block the flow of air under doors and windows. While draft stoppers are no substitution for proper weather sealing, you can use them as an added layer of protection around exterior doors, or even use them against interior doors to keep heated air confined to particular areas of your home.
Install storm doors and windows.
Adding this extra layer of insulation between winter weather and your home can cut energy bills and seal warm air around both sides of your doors and windows.
Add or update your weatherstripping throughout your home.
Weatherstripping helps prevent air flow and moisture from flowing in and around the gaps between your doors and door frames. On top of weatherstripping doors and windows, you can caulk hard to reach areas around chimneys, corners, and other drafty areas for added protection.
Double check exterior doors for gaps, cracks, and drafts.
Along with installing weatherstripping, be sure to survey your exterior doors to make sure they’re in their best condition. It’s too easy for chilly drafts, gaps in your door, or misalignment issues to drain your bank account of funds and your home of comfort. For items like corner pads, door bottoms, and weatherstripping, see BetterDoor’s weathersealing solutions. Learn how to address gaps in your door system in: 4 Door Areas You Need to Check to Prevent Drafty, Leaky Doors.