5 Ways to Prepare for Winter

Mom and daughter cuddling under blanket

Winter is coming, and there are a lot of things you can do in your home to prepare for the colder weather. These 5 tips will help you save money and make your home more comfortable during long winter days and nights:

  • Donate Old Clothes — Remember that old winter coat you replaced several years ago? Why not donate it. A simple rule of thumb is that if you have not worn a piece of clothing in two years, it’s time to donate it. There are many places that offer tax forms for your donations. Local schools will often hold clothing drives as well.
  • HVAC Check — Winter HVAC maintenance can save you a lot of money. Before winter comes, have your furnace inspected. Proper maintenance of your furnace system will give you consistent temperatures in every part of your home. If you notice one room is colder than others (more than likely upstairs), it’s possible you have an HVAC or insulation issue. A well-tuned HVAC system will provide increased efficiency keeping your heating bills low.
  • Winterize Windows and Doors — One of the most common causes of high winter electric bills is poor insulation of windows and doors. Windows that are not properly insulated with caulking will leak precious amounts of heat from the cracks along the edges. Heat leaking from your home due to insufficient insulation translates to higher energy bills and less consistent comfort. A small investment in caulk can save you more money in the long run.
  • Carbon Monoxide Prevention— Carbon monoxide poisoning is more common during the winter time. During a furnace inspection, your HVAC contractor can test your equipment to ensure it is safe from carbon monoxide leaks. This deadly gas is impossible to smell, taste or see and can be fatal even in small amounts. It’s a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors in every level of your home. If you use a gas stove, check to make sure your gas is turned off after cooking. If you own a fireplace, proper maintenance will prevent soot accumulation, which can cause carbon monoxide to fill your home. Your smoke and carbon monoxide detection equipment should be replaced every 10 years. The batteries should be replaced every year.
  • Warm Your Car Up Outside the Garage — It’s not very pleasant to start your day on a bitter winter morning getting into a cold car and heading to work. If you plan on warming up the interior of your car before driving off, make sure you pull it out of the garage. Idling your car in a garage is dangerous and can expose you to carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases. Even if the door of your garage is open, the fumes from your car can easily enter your home.
  • Attic Insulation — Just like winterizing windows and doors, adding more insulating to your attic is a good way to save some money. As heat rises, your attic is the place where the majority of your hot air is headed. A well insulated and ventilated attic will be more energy efficient by reducing energy loss.

This blog was originally posted October 2015 and recently updated.

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