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Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter

When one decides to winterize their home, they are consciously deciding to make it as ready for the approaching cold season as possible. That is what the idea is all about, right? Winterizing implies that we are going to lower our heating costs and “batten down the hatches” as they used to say. A difficult period is afoot and we have to prepare both our wallets and our homes or else … bad things will happen.

Fortunately, such serious consequences are not so hard to avoid. Here are some tips to get your home “battle-ready” for the winter season with some savings tips along the way:

Get an Audit

The first thing you need to do is figure out what you are dealing with. Energy audits are a great help because they often will point out heating drains that you were unaware of. In some states, energy audits will actually benefit you financially because the program will foot the bill to make any fixes they deem necessary. Regardless, these professionals will help you to get your home ready for old man winter and save you some money on your energy bill as you do it. Contact your local energy company to see what programs are available.

Audit Your Home Yourself

If such programs don’t exist in your area or you simply want to get a jump on things, walk the perimeter of your home. Look extremely close at all the areas of your home that are open or that connect in some way. These connected areas such as where your siding and foundation come together are usually where you will find the biggest problems. Make note of all of the holes and cracks you find and go back and fill them in.

Wemo Light Switch

This light switch allows you to program to turn off automatically.

Install Motion Sensors

Unless it is Christmas, a light burning in an empty room makes absolutely no sense. You can buy motion sensors now that will turn them on when people are there and cut them off automatically when they sense no movement in the room. You can turn them off when it is needed as well. These alone can take care of a horrible habit that most families have at least one offender of (or multiple as with us!).

This might not save on your heating bill but it will certainly lower your energy bill overall. Every little bit will help, right?

Nest Programmable Thermostat

We will be purchasing the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Invest in (or use) a Programmable Thermostat

There are many people out there that have programmable thermostats but have never bothered to learn how to use the best features. You can literally program the thermostat to be smart and heat when it should.

Why heat the home if you are out all day? How cool would it be if your thermostat could turn on and off when you need it to without having to remember it? It does. Either buy one or learn to use yours this season. It is worth a fortune.

Use a Wood Stove or Fireplace

Good old fashioned fireplace heat was good enough for centuries of men and it is good enough for us. The bottom line is that this is the warmest heat known to man. If you have one and want to save money, fire that thing up and enjoy the natural source of heat given to us.

Window Caulk

Window caulk – cheap and worth it!

Inspect All Doors and Windows

Doors and window open and close. By simple definition they are going to be susceptible to leaks both coming and going. If hot air is going out, you can be reasonably sure that cold air is also getting in. Get some door guards for your doors and insulate the windows thoroughly to have maximum benefits.

Clean the Gutters

When there is debris in the gutters of your home, you can be sure that ice will clog up there. Once it does, your gutter becomes weighted and dangerous. This can cause roofing problems, accidents from gutters falling or ice and even cave ins in extreme cases.

Eliminate the Wasted Heat

If you have guest rooms, extra storage or unused areas of your home, why heat it up just like the rest of your home? Close those areas off and only give them the heat they need. Your bill will love you for it and the rest of the home will heat much more efficiently as well.

Furnace Filters

We always have spare furnace filters in the proper size.

Change out Filters

A dirty filter will keep you sick throughout the winter season. If you have your unit maintained by an HVAC company, they will likely replace the filter for you as part of your service. Either way, clean your filters out and change them regularly. It is better to buy an extra filter or two than to chance it and save a few bucks. Spend the money and get that efficiency rating back up.

Check Your Roof

When the icy season comes along, the last thing you want is to have problems up top. Get up there (or pay someone) and check the roof for any repairs that might be necessary. Small repairs ahead of time can save you massive repairs later. Get it done before it becomes a big problem in the dead of winter.

Nest Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

A smoke and carbon monoxide alarm that works with your iPhone!

Check Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Units

With the cold season and the use of furnaces and fireplaces, these items take on a huge importance. Make sure they all have fresh batteries and plenty of testings to ensure they work properly.

Cut Back Troublesome Trees and Shrubs

Make sure you inspect your property surrounding the home to make certain you don’t have overhanging trees or bushes that could cause a problem during icing. Snow and ice can make these things fall and damage your home or property. Trim them back now and save yourself some headaches.

Gather the Heating Emergency Gear

If you had no fireplace or natural heating source and your power goes out, how would you stay warm? You would need equipment for sure. Gather up some blankets, candles, lighters, wood, emergency medical sources, flashlights, food and so on and have it put away in case of an emergency.

Consider the number of people in your family when compiling this list. This kit should be larger and more involved if you live in a winter area that gets tons of bad weather.

Make the Commitment to Change

Heat and cold will go in and out like the wind when you leave doors open or cracked. You can have the most efficient unit in the world and it does you no good if your family continues to heat the neighborhood. Everyone together needs to make the promise to change their bad habits for this stuff to matter.

What other ways do you prepare your home for winter?

About Andrea Deckard

Andrea Deckard is a personal finance expert and speaker. She lives by the following motto, "save on what you need so you can spend on what you want." She started Savings Lifestyle in 2008, and long-time readers remember the site as Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a go-to resource on frugal living for local news outlets such as WDTN, WGRR, and as well as national outlets like Good Morning America. She has also been featured in multiple national publications.

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