A big part of every homeowner’s job is to prepare for winter weather by keeping your home protected and cozy before the first big snow. By the time the first cold snap hits, you don’t want to be caught unprepared. That’s why it’s always smart to begin preparing for winter in the early fall months by doing a thorough check of your home grounds and making sure no cold air can find its way into your home. While some of the basic heat-trapping techniques like weatherstripping are second nature to seasoned homeowners, others require a bit more knowledge and dedication. If you’re ready to guard your home against cold air and weather, use a few of these tips to keep your house cozy and warm without running up the heating bills.
Weatherstrip and Caulk Everything
As a homeowner, you can’t expect a home to stay warm on the inside if it isn’t properly protected from the outside. In addition to fitting heavier storm windows in anticipation of colder weather, make sure all your weatherstripping and caulking is intact. If you see anything flaking or peeling off, replace it at once. Weatherstripping tends to last one good winter before needing to be reinforced or replaced. If you’re not sure about whether or not to replace your current caulking, try and catch drafts by standing on both sides of the window and seeing if any air comes through.
Arm Your Windows Against Cold
Weatherstripping isn’t the only way to protect your windows against leaks. Since windows and doorways are the most vulnerable spots in the home for cold air to escape through, you always want to make sure they’re properly protected by adding insulation in the frames and all around the edges of each window. For extra protection, try shrink-wrapping a large piece of plastic around each window frame to trap and seal in any cold air before it has time to infiltrate your home. Using heavy, darkly-colored drapes can also be helpful when it comes to sealing in the cold air and keeping each room well insulated. Before you start heating your home for the winter, make sure you’ve made your windows completely leak-proof so you can avoid wasting money.
Look for Small Leaks
If your house was built a long time ago, it’s pretty safe to assume that leaks are going to be found everywhere, from the cracks around the windows to the attic to the space between electrical sockets. Smaller drafts might not seem like much, but they certainly add up. Take a minute to insulate smaller areas like the space behind your electrical sockets. For doors and entryways, install a door lip seal to make sure no cold air is escaping through the bottom of your door. If you haven’t installed an extra layer of buffering, like a screen door, consider taking the time to do this before cold weather hits. Not only will it help keep cold air out, it will act as a barrier between snow buildup and your entryway once the winter sets in.
Use Portable Heaters
For smaller rooms in your home, portable heaters are a perfect way to quickly and efficiently warm up a space without wasting a ton of energy. Even if you’re using central heating or Think Heat in the rest of your home, having a few portable heaters around will help with smaller offices or bedrooms. Rather than turn up the heat altogether, encourage your family members to use the space heater to warm up a room and then shut it off directly. If the room is well insulated, the heat will stay trapped in the room for a while without wasting electricity. When you’re shopping for portable heaters, always make sure to get newer, more energy efficient models. They will automatically turn off before overheating for safety.
Invest in Smart Technology
If you’re working with an older thermostat system, consider switching to smart technology like Nest, which allows the homeowner to customize heat levels remotely. One of the biggest wastes of energy comes from keeping central heating on when it’s simply not needed, such as late at night when everyone is sleeping, or when no one’s in the house. Cut down on costs by installing presets that will allow your thermostat to turn itself down when there’s no need for it to be on a high heat level. Installing a smart thermostat will also help with self-regulating. It’s tamper-proof, so you don’t have to worry about family members constantly resetting it. All you have to do is install and save a ton on energy bills.