Keep Comfortable by Winterizing Your Home
Stay warmer and save money with these easy, low-cost hints.
When the temperatures dip into the frigid level, there are ways you can stay warmer in your home without turning up the furnace.
Here are some simple, easy and low-cost tips to surviving winter’s cold and making your home warmer and more comfortable. You’ll be doing your budget and the environment a favor by using less energy.
- On a windy day, check for air leaks by running your hand around windows, door frames and other wall openings such as utilities or cable. Seal any drafts with caulk or weather stripping. (Hint: If you wet your hand, it will be more sensitive to moving air.)
- If you have windows that are extremely drafty or are single-pane glass, seal them with a clear plastic window insulator kit found in most hardware or home improvement stores.
- If you have ductwork in your attic, basement or crawlspace, make sure there are no leaks allowing heat to escape.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Letting the temperature drop even five degrees at night when you’re sleeping (or during the day when no one is home) can save on your heating bill.
- Put a “Draft Blocker” in front of exterior doors to prevent cold air from blowing in under the door. Don’t have one? A rolled-up bath towel works fine.
- Close curtains at night to keep the heat in and the cold out. Open them during the day to let sunlight in.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed.
- Use a humidifier to put moisture in the air. The extra moisture makes the air feel warmer and also reduces dry skin and static electricity in your home. An added benefit is that humid air prevents any wood in your house (furniture, molding, floors, etc.) from drying out and possibly becoming damaged.
- To block the flow of cold air, place pre-made foam insulators in all electrical outlets and light switches located on exterior walls. Such insulators are available at most hardware and home improvement stores. Disconnect the power while you are installing them.
- If you have ceiling fans, run them clockwise. This helps circulate warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling.
- Change the air filter on your furnace. A clogged filter reduces efficiency.
No matter how many energy saving devices you install, when the temperature dips, your heating system will be working harder and longer. Here’s some additional information to help you safely survive winter’s icy blasts.
- Be sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- If you use an auxiliary source of heat, such as a space heater or fireplace, use caution to prevent burns, fires or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- In freezing temperatures, take steps to prevent freezing water pipes.
- Snow mixed with cold can produce damaging ice dams. Take steps to prevent this source of damage to your home.
- Make sure your furnace is tuned for maximum efficiency.