Whether your winter consists of fierce blizzards or simply cool night temperatures, living in the Northern Hemisphere means that winter is right around the corner. No matter where you reside in the U.S., there are things you can do to keep your home safe and strong when the warm weather starts to fade.
California’s Consumer Energy Center (www.consumerenergycenter.org) offers some great tips for residents of any state looking to winterize their homes:
- Check around doors and windows for leaks and drafts and add weather-stripping if necessary. Caulk any holes that may be letting heat escape, and make sure doors seal properly. If windows leak a lot, consider replacing them with new ones. In addition to a pleasant appearance, many new windows are built to save energy and cut heating costs.
- Climb up into your attic and examine your insulation. Before energy efficiency standards, homes were often constructed with little or no insulation. You may be losing large amounts of heat through your walls, floors and ceilings. Weather-strip your attic hatch to prevent warm air from escaping and seal any holes in the attic that lead down into the house.
- MSN’s real estate experts offer a useful autumn-to-do list to help homeowners prepare for the upcoming winter months. Here are some tips to add to your own list (read the article at http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=13107899):
- Remove leaves and other debris from your gutters using your hands or a scraper, spatula or hose. Whether you get a lot of rain or snow during the winter, gutters need to efficiently drain. Clogged gutters/downspouts can lead to water seeping into your home. Michael Broili, Director of the Well Home Program for Seattle’s Phinney Neighborhood Association, reminds homeowners that gutters should help move water away from the house as well. "The rule of thumb is that water should be at least 10 feet away from the house.”
- Check and change (if necessary) the batteries in your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Many people use fireplaces and candles throughout the winter and do a lot of cooking during the holidays, so be sure to check the smoke alarm in particular. According to MSN, fire officials recommend replacing detectors every 10 years. You can press the “test” button on the alarm and use a small bit of smoke to make sure it’s working correctly. If you don’t have a carbon-monoxide detector, buy at least one for each floor of your house.
It’s important to prepare your home for the seasonal change. Even just a few hours and a couple of bucks can save you a larger amount of time and money in the future.