Eight Easy Ways to Get Your Home Winter-Ready
1. Seal Cracks and Crevices
Even the slightest crack inside or outside your home can allow drafts of cold air. Use exterior-grade caulking or expandable spray foam to seal cracks along your foundation. This helps keep out melting ice, moisture and air infiltration. Interior-grade caulk can help seal out cold air around windows and doors.
2. Add Weatherstripping
The problem with many older homes in Western and Upstate New York is that seals around windows and doors have become loose. This causes increased outside air flow – bringing in hot air in the summer, and of course, cold air in the winter. Weatherstripping adds an extra layer of protection to your windows and doors to help seal out the cold and seal in the heat. Weatherstripping kits are available at most home supply stores. Every little bit helps to lower your heating bills.
3. Insulation Stops Infiltration
People don’t often think of the importance of insulation around electrical outlets and light switches. These areas can be a source of significant heat loss, especially in older homes. Insulating outlets and switches is an affordable and easy project. The insulation for outlets typically comes in a thin, white foam gasket that fits inside the standard faceplate cover. Grab a screwdriver and a pair of scissors to get started!
4. Humidify For Health
As the temperatures drop, so does the humidity in your home. That can make for an uncomfortable, even unhealthy, home environment. During the winter months, complaints of chapped lips, dry skin, bloody noses, itchy eyes and even sickness are directly related to the amount of moisture in the home. A properly working humidifier is critical to home comfort this winter. If your furnace is equipped with one, before you turn the heat back on, take time to clean or change the water panel on your humidifier and open the bypass damper to the winter position. Then, monitor humidity levels as the weather gets colder.
5. Adjust Your Dampers
For many homeowners, there’s most likely a room or two in your home that gets all of the heat in the winter – or AC in the summer. If that’s the case, then it’s probably time to adjust your dampers.
Dampers are installed on the duct work and can be adjusted to direct heating (or cooling) into, or away from, certain areas of your home. Most homes have manual dampers that can be adjusted by the homeowner. Changing the direction of the dampers is a simple way to direct more heat into a specific room, making your home more comfortable for everyone.
6. Take Cover
While covering the top of your AC won’t necessarily keep you more comfortable this winter, it might just make sure your AC is working properly when summer returns. Protect your AC unit from leaves and other debris with something as simple as a flat piece of wood and a brick to hold it down. Feeling creative? Create an angled wooden “roof” to go over the top of the unit to prevent snow from building up or icicles from damaging the unit.
7. Switch the Program
If equipped, change your programmable thermostat from Cool to Heat early on as a test of your system to ensure it is operating properly. Considering the fluctuation of temperatures as winter approaches, this may be one of the last things you do before the cold weather settles in. Moving the thermostat to Auto is a good first step. Then when the temperatures permanently dip for the season, click the thermostat over to Heat.
8. Adjust Your Fans
During the summer, homeowners run ceiling fans in a counterclockwise direction to create a cool downstream of air. Once winter arrives you should reverse your ceiling fan to run the blade in a clockwise direction. This allows the fan to produce an updraft, which pushes the hotter air down into the room. This works great in rooms with high ceilings and can help you lower your heating bill.
These winter-ready tips offer easy ways to help get you ready and ensure a more comfortable home this winter. A FREE Isaac Home Energy Performance Audit is another great way to learn how and where your home is losing or wasting energy … and, most importantly, what you can do about it. Visit IsaacHomeEnergy.com to learn more.