Whether you’re Canadian and or an avid fan of Game of Thrones….we all can relate to Ned Stark’s motto, “Winter Is Coming". The Starks, being the lords of the North, always strive to be prepared for the coming of winter (white walkers and all). As for the rest of us, it’s that time of year when temperatures drop, we crank up our thermostats and take time to enjoy our fireplaces.
Below is an easy home winterizing 5-step checklist that will keep you warm, save you money and reduce your carbon footprint too!
1. Seal Your Doors And Windows
Winter drafts enter through your doors and windows. Surprisingly these drafts use up anywhere between 5% to 30% of your energy. You know the expression, “throwing money out the window”, enough said. Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows. Best to replace cracked glass in windows (and if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood). You may want to also consider protecting your basement window wells by covering them with plastic shields. And if you want to go the distance, I recommend swapping out summer screens with glass replacements too.
2. Get Your Fireplace On
If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, take advantage. Before turning up your thermostat, use your fireplace. If you have a natural gas fireplace, turn it on. The great thing with gas fireplaces is that they provide heating within a specific area allowing you to lower your thermostat a few degrees. Those homeowners that have ceiling fans, consider yourself twice as lucky. Did you know that ceiling fans can be used for heating and cooling? While your fireplace is going, your fan will collect your warm air and circulate it back into the your living space. You might as well do something with all that heat rising to the top.
3. Cover Up Your Power Outlets
Did you know that the power outlets on the exterior walls of your home allow warm air to escape and cold air to enter? Simple insulation padding will do the trick. No professional assistance is needed to install this inexpensive padding either. This material is always readily available at your local hardware store and is relatively inexpensive. All you have to do is ensure you cut the power on the electrical break before installing and you're set.
4. Lower Your Thermostat
Although the suggested daily thermostat setting is 20 degrees celsius, the quickest and easiest way to save 15% on your heating costs is to set your temperature 3-4 degrees lower when you are away from home or sleeping. Plus, experts agree that lowering your home temperature by a few degrees also gives you a better night’s sleep!
5. Inspect Your Furnace Filters
Replacing or cleaning your furnace filter regularly will help maintain healthy air quality and reduce your heating bill. So stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly. If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
There you have it, five easy home winterization efforts ranging from free or low cost solutions that will save you money on your heating bill.
As usual, my mindset has always been to help people by sharing my real estate expertise and home improvement knowledge. If you have additional questions, require professional referrals or are just interested in learning how to increase the value of your property, I am a phone call away.
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