When winter’s cold blast approaches and the warmth of summer is a distant memory, it’s time to winterize your home to ensure you keep heating and other costs at bay. Here are some simple tips on how to winterize your home this season.
Seal up Windows and Doors
Nothing acts more like a beacon to escaping heat than drafty windows and doors. When windows and doors are poorly insulated, you’re saying goodbye to your hard-earned cash as your costly heat goes right out the door. It’s easy to detect a leak — just walk around your home and light a candle near each window and door. If the flame flickers, cold air is getting in. Caulk the leaks to seal them and keep your toasty air in, helping you to save on your energy bills.
Close Unused Doors and Vents
If there are any rooms you do not use frequently in the winter, such as guest rooms and finished basements, keep the doors closed and shut the heating vents to those rooms to conserve energy. No sense in heating a room when no one’s in it. You’ll get more even distribution of heat throughout the main rooms, like your bedroom, the living room and the kitchen, where you need it most.
Reverse the Ceiling Fans
You probably never thought much about the direction of your ceiling fan blades but there’s a real benefit to reversing their direction when the winter hits. Most ceiling fans come with a switch that you can simply flip to make the blades go in the opposite direction. Make sure they’re rotating in a clockwise motion rather than counterclockwise, to encourage the warm air (which naturally wants to rise) to direct downwards.
Check Your Alarms
This includes your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as your security alarms and surveillance systems. Ensure outdoor security cameras are properly secured to the home to prevent slipping and shifting due to high winds and snow drifts.
Stash an Emergency Supply
Could you survive a few days or a week without power? If not, it’s a good idea to always have an emergency supply as a backup in case you lose power during a storm. You’ll need a fully-stocked first aid kit complete with sanitizers, bandages, OTC medications and backup prescriptions, as you may not be able to get to the store in the event of an injury or a critical situation where your child has a food allergy, for instance, and you need an epinephrine pen. In your emergency supply, you’ll also need plenty of dried and canned goods, several gallons of water, flashlights with extra batteries, manual can openers, matches, fully charged cell phones and a fire extinguisher. Keep emergency numbers handy in case you need them at a moment’s notice. Stay safe this winter and do what you can to prepare.