There’s a chill in the air, and before you know it, there will be snow on the ground. That may sound like a harsh reality to contemplate in mid-October, but the good news is that you still have time to winterize your home in preparation for the colder temperatures.
Even if you live in a more temperate part of the country, a few quick, inexpensive steps will help you save money on utility bills throughout the winter months. Some can even make your home healthier and more comfortable while you save!
For example, the first thing to do — whether you own or rent — is to replace the furnace filters. This will help them run at optimum efficiency, saving money on gas bills, while also improving indoor air quality. If you have pets or allergies and can’t remember when you last replaced your furnace filters for a few months, the task is likely overdue.
Next, you should eliminate any drafts that might be allowing heat to escape from your home. Invest in doorway draft “snakes,” caulk and weatherstrip windows and doors, and pull out that window A/C unit. And to keep cold air on the outside of older, single-pane windows, LifeHacker says, tape bubble wrap to them or use a window insulation film.
Owners can improve their homes’ overall weather-readiness by adding insulation to walls, window frames, doorways, outlets, ducts, and especially attic floors and ceilings. And home-improvement guru Bob Vila recommends the installation of a programmable thermostat to avoid heating the house when you’re not there.
It’s also a good idea to insulate pipes, says Popular Mechanics. Not only will you pay less to heat water, you’ll protect your pipes against costly freezes and bursts during winter cold snaps. Foam pipe insulation is cheap and easy to install — and while you’re at it, “bleed” your water heater and turn it down to 120°F to save even more on utility costs.
Finally, The Art of Manliness says, take a cue from former president Jimmy Carter and put on a sweater! You’ll add about 4° of fully mobile warmth to your body, allowing you to lower the thermostat and potentially save hundreds of dollars. (Low on sweaters? Check out a local thrift store supplied by ClothingDonations.org to stock up on the cheap!)
Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to keep warm all winter long without breaking the bank.