Winter is Coming! 8 Tips to Winterize Your Home and Save Hundreds This Season
Whether you live on the northern border and are accustomed to dumps upon dumps of snow, or off the coast with sweltering heat and humidity, it gets colder than you’re accustomed to during the winter months.
With that cold comes heating bills, and the name of the game is getting the heat in your house and not letting it escape. Sparing the finer points of thermodynamics, here are a few easy money-saving tips to winterize your home this chilly season:
- Door sweeps: Put your hand near the bottom of any door that leads outside the home. If there’s a draft, you can purchase and install a door sweep for around $10. Even a rolled-up towel will do the trick in a jam (no pun intended).
- Weather-stripping: Is there a draft coming from the top or side of the door? How about your windows? Weather-stripping can be purchased for under $10 a roll and installed in minutes.
- Caulk: Any drafts coming from the frame of the doors or windows? Sensing a pattern here? Caulk can be purchased for around $5 a tube. Practice a little bit on some cardboard. A steady hand will produce a good clean seal, an unsteady hand will produce a good messy seal.
- Storm doors and windows, and plastic: If you’re fortunate enough to have storm doors and windows, use them! If not, put up some insulating plastic on your windows (or sliding glass doors). Window plastic can be purchased for around $10 per box, and if you take your time and follow the directions, it is nearly invisible to the eye.
- Fans in reverse: Remember this old gem from grade school? Warm air rises, cool air sinks. A lot of the warm air pumping into your home is rising and getting trapped up near the ceiling. If you have ceiling fans with reverse switches, turn them on. They won’t make your home colder; they’ll actually circulate the warm air and push it back towards the floor.
- Insulate Piping: Check the pipes leading away from your hot water tank. Are any hot to the touch? You can purchase pre-cut insulation foam from the hardware store for your hot water pipes. It’s a little pricier than the caulk and stripping, coming in around the ballpark of $1 per foot, but it can still pay for itself in just a year or two.
- Attic hatch: Remember the heat up near your ceiling? It wants to get into your attic. Think about driving in your car with just one window cracked — it creates a vacuum. The air pulls to that one opening. Place your hand on your attic hatch. If it’s colder than the rest of your ceiling, it’s a culprit. Search YouTube for attic hatch insulation. With some weather-strip, expanding foam, caulk, and foam insulation, there are plenty of videos that will show you how to weatherize your hatch for under $20.
- Attic Insulation: This one is last because it’s the most expensive, but surprise, it will also save you the most money! Two able-bodied adults will little-to-no experience can add several inches of attic insulation to a 2,000 sq. ft. home for around $300. The same job done by professionals can cost well over $2,000. Again, do a little research and watch a few online videos, but cellulose insulation can blown in for around $10 per 50 sq. ft. Major hardware stores often rent the necessary equipment, or even lend it for free if you purchase a certain amount.
Protecting your home is an ongoing effort. You can do each of these things, and still have to revisit them every few years. But if you’ve ever paid a high winter bill, you know just how much seemingly small changes can fluctuate heating costs from month to month. For under $50, you can pick three or four things from this list, and potentially save hundreds this season alone.