Up here in the frozen tundra, preparing for winter can be a bit of a weekend time-sucker. So, last week I decided to get to it and start the winterizing process. I realize it can save us on our energy bills – so it is worth the time/effort. For those living in the south – feel free to skip over this post for today and head out to the golf course (or whatever it is you do with your time when you’re not prepping for winter).
Here’s several things that are recommended be done to properly winterize your house which will save you money over the winter months:
- Check gutters. A couple years ago, we had one of the worst winter hazards befall our home: an ice dam. There was water everywhere in our basement and ended up causing about $15k worth in damages. Fortunately our insurance covered most of this. Little did we know that one of the big contributors to ice dams forming is clogged up gutters. When the water has no place to go, it freezes and just keeps building up along your eaves so that any melting water gets pushed up under the shingling – and sometimes – into your walls.
- Examine attic for proper insulation. Another contributor – and by many accounts, the biggest one – is having an attic that is not properly insulated. Before the snow sets in, take a look in your attic to see if there is adequate insulation up there. Better yet – get an insulation pro to come out and offer a free estimate/quote and they’ll do it for you. Attics can be yucky places – so you may just want someone who knows what they are looking for. We found out our house wasn’t properly insulated before the ice dam and thus was likely a factor in its formation. What you want to avoid is heat in your house proper escaping up and into the attic. This causes the snow on the roof to melt – which leads to ice build-up along your eaves (where it isn’t as warm).
- Check for leaks. You can get someone from your gas/electric company to come out and perform an “energy audit” of your home. This can be a bit spendy – so this is something you can do yourself. Amazon has a Black & Decker Thermal Leak Detector you can get for about
$52(currently on sale for $32). This will help you detect any drafts you can’t determine by yourself. Even your electric outlets can have “drafts”.
- Seal your windows. This is something I do every year – especially since our windows are older and probably need to be replaced soon. If you have a newer house, you can pass on this annual winter ceremony. While it can be a bit of a chore – I do take some joy in “shrink-wrapping” the window with the blow-dryer. If you’ve ever done this before you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s a little bit like popping those packaging bubbles…
- Shut-off outside water. Another potential winter hazard can be frozen pipes. Not as likely to happen – but best to prepare against it. Any water spigot you have on the outside of the house should be shut-off on the inside of your home.
- If you don’t have a snow blower (and they’re quite expensive so not everyone does!) then make sure you have a rapid ice melting product like Traction Magic so you can quickly get your car out of the driveway, especially in case of an emergency.
- Call your HVAC pro now. BEFORE winter sets in to check on your heating/ventilation system. These guys are going to get pretty busy once the snow flies – so better to get ’em in your house before things start heating up (no pun intended).
Anything you do to winterize your home that can save money down the road?