From pipes bursting to your heat escaping through the fireplace, the winter can come with some financial challenges if you’re a homeowner. These little incidents can end up costing you a lot of money. If you want to avoid the home complications the winter chill brings, here are the best ways to prepare your home to save money this winter.
Exposed pipes lose heat by the cooling temperature surrounding them. Insulating your hot-water pipes in the basement or crawl space will prevent the pipes from losing heat.
Visit your local hardware store and purchase pre-slit foam sleeves to put around your pipes. Make sure to measure the diameters around your pipes so you find the perfect fit. You should be able to find pipe insulation for about $2 to $3 per 6 feet of foam.
Enclose pipes between the hot-water tank and the wall as well as cold water pipers. Insulate the cold water pipes 3 feet after they enter your home.
Lower Your Hot Water Temperature
Typically, hot water heaters are set at 140 degrees. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees is a good way to prepare your home to save money this winter. This temperature will still allow for warm bathing, washing your clothes, and cleaning the dishes. Lowering the temperature of your hot water heater may even help prevent burns.
Test Your Sump Pump
Pour gallons of water into your sump pump pit to make sure it turns on and starts pumping. If it has been dry for a few months, this is the perfect time to put it to the test. For additional instructions, check your owner’s manual.
If your sump pump breaks, it could cause your basement to flood and leave you with a huge clean up bill on your hands.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
Celling fans keep you cool in the summer months, but did you know they can also help heat up your space? After you turn on your heat, use the reverse switch on your ceiling fan to make the blades move in a clockwise direction.
This will create an updraft and push down the heated air into the surrounding space. This is especially helpful in rooms that have high ceilings. You may be able to turn down your thermostat at least a degree or two. This is a great way to prepare your home and save money this winter.
It may also be wise to turn off all ceiling fans when you leave a room. If you’re not in a specific room, there is no point in wasting energy while you’re absent.
Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Winter is a prime time for house fires. With the furnace blaring and the fire burning throughout the night, house fires can happen. Check all of your fire detectors and make sure they are working properly.
Also, check your carbon monoxide detectors. If you don’t have one, consider getting one.
Consider having a professional inspect your HVAC to ensure your furnace and water heater are properly vented. Furnace and water heater leaks are a common source of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real danger this time of year and something that you can easily prevent by taking just a few precautionary steps.
Clean Your Chimney
Hire a professional to clean and inspect your chimney before you start building cozy fires. They will help you identify any maintenance problems, leaks, and can let you know if your fireplace is safe to use.
This could also be a great time to order a lot of firewood. Keep it in a dry place. Discard any firewood that is rotten.
Adjust Thermostat at Night
Set your thermostat at one temperature during the day and another at night. Try not to adjust your thermostat other than two times a day. If you find you’re a little chilly, throw on a sweater and some socks.
This will help you save money on your utility bill throughout the winter.
Windows and doors tend to be a big culprit for losing heat throughout your home. If the gap between your siding and the window is thicker than the width of a nickel, you should consider caulking around your windows and doors. Make sure to check the door joints as well.
Silicone caulk may be your best bet for exterior application. It won’t shrink in the cold and can hold up to additional elements. It may be a little more expensive than other alternatives, but it will prepare your home and help you save money this winter.
Clear Your Gutters
Clogged gutters are often the culprit of water problems in the basement. Take the time to clean your gutters after the leaves fall. If you can’t reach your gutters, it may be wise to hire a professional to clear them for you.
Turn Off Your Outside Water Faucets
Turning off your outside faucets will help prevent your pipes from freezing or even worse, bursting. This can turn into a huge financial disaster if you’re not careful.
You also want to make sure there is no leftover water in the pipes.
Replace Light Bulbs with LED Lights
You may think it’s more expensive to purchase LED lights, but they may actually save you energy and money. They can even save you $30 to $80 throughout the course of the life of the light bulb.
Take some time on a snow day and replace the light bulbs throughout your home.
Inspect Your Furnace and Boiler
Inspect your furnace and boiler early in the season. You will want to make sure your furnace filter is clean. Dust can lower the efficiency of your furnace and increase your bill.
Before your boiler goes out mid-January, you may want to consider signing up with a reputable heating company. If you sign an annual contract, they will be happy to assist you with any of your heating needs throughout the season. This service is well worth it if you lose heat.
The Bottom Line
Take some time in the next few weeks to prepare your home to save money this winter. By making these home chores your priority, you can prevent costly accidents from occurring.