Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter
It’s officially fall, which means winter weather is not far behind. Oklahoma is known for its unpredictable weather and ice snaps that can come out of nowhere. Winterizing your home can not only help protect your home from the elements, it can save you money too! With a little planning, you can ensure the heat stays on while also trimming your heating bill.
First, take stalk in the condition on your main source of heat (central heating system, independent heater, furnace, etc.) and the seals on your windows and doors. Heating is expensive enough already, so you don’t want to pay for heat that escapes out windows, doors and cracks rather than staying inside and keeping you warm.
Now is the time to make repairs that will make your home more energy efficient, both saving you money and keeping you warmer. Even if you can’t afford major repairs, such as a new furnace or new windows, there are small things you can do to save big bucks on heating costs – and you can handle most of them yourself.
Make Your Move
Caulk around your windows. Warm air can escape and cold air can enter your house if the area around your windows has cracks. Caulking needs to be replaced periodically, and you should check every fall for holes that need to be patched, as well as holes anywhere outside your house.
Replace weather-stripping around doors. If you can see light around the edges of your doors, you need new weather-stripping. You can pick up this material at both Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations at pennies on the dollar.
Close up your fireplace. Make sure your flue closes all the way, and check whether you can feel air coming in when it’s closed. Glass doors around your fireplace opening are another way to keep warm air in and cold air out of your house.
Add heavy drapes and rugs. Changing light summer drapes for heavy winter drapes was common in earlier times, and it’s still helpful today. Drapes can keep the room warmer, while putting down rugs provides a layer of insulation above the floor. The Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity ReStore is always restocking their interiors, so stop by to view the latest inventory.
Improve your insulation. Insulation deteriorates over time, so you may want to add more material in your attic. Other places to add insulation are in crawl spaces and exposed areas of decks. Now, crawling around that space can be dangerous, so proceed with caution. Also consult your home improvement professional to ensure you choose the correct, and safe, choices for your home.
Cover your water heater. Did you know you could buy a water heater blanket for around $20 at the hardware store that will keep the tank from losing heat as quickly? Think of it as a little sweater for your heater.
Change your furnace filters. If the filters are dirty, your furnace has to work harder, which means its consuming more energy. Call a specialist and have it serviced periodically.
Get a programmable thermostat. The newest thermostats can learn your family’s habits and set themselves to keep the house cooler when no one is there and warmer when the home is occupied. You can also purchase a more basic programmable thermostat. Prices vary considerably, depending on how sophisticated you want your thermostat to be.
Lower your water heater temperature. Check that little gauge on your water heater and slightly adjust it by about 10-20 degrees. It may not sound like much, but a hot shower is a hot shower, and those degrees can save you dollars. You won’t notice the difference.
Replace less efficient windows and doors. Adding double- or triple-pane windows, insulated doors and insulated garage doors will significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores regular stock windows, home supplies, home interiors and more. With a little planning, some prep and cleaning, you can get your home winter-ready in no time! And of course, you can always simply just lower your home’s temperature and throw on a hoodie and an extra pair of socks to keep you warm.
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