By Benjamin St. Jacques
For many homeowners, winter can seem like one never-ending battle to keep cold air from sneaking in, or warm air form sneaking out, through any little gap, hole, crack, or crevice. That’s why, when the winter months begin to creep in, the typical homeowners’ thoughts turn to winterizing. Of course, getting your home ready for winter can also conjure up thoughts of messy caulk guns, drippy spray foam, reams of weather stripping, and rolls of unwieldy pink insulation — not to mention the associated costs and hours of work. It’s enough to make you want to just say “forget it,” turn your thermostat to 80 degrees, and stay in bed until April.
But, don’t give up just yet. Luckily, there are some simple ways to create a warmer and more efficient home that won’t cost you a penny or take up much time. Here are a few ideas you can try today:
1. Don't Forget to Bring a Towel!
Roll up old towels and place them at the bottom of all exterior-facing doors and along the window sills. These are the likeliest places you’ll find drafts. Be sure to leave interior doors as they are so heat can travel freely from room to room.
2. Lock 'em Up!
Make sure your windows are securely locked and sealed tight. Locked windows are less drafty than completely closed unlocked windows.
3. Turn on the Fan. Yes, Really!
Most people thing of ceiling fans only in terms of keeping things cool. Not so! If you have ceiling fans, make sure they are moving in a clockwise direction. This will encourage the flow of warmer air near the ceiling to flow down toward the floor. This simple step can reduce your heating bill by as much as 10 percent.
Fire with Fire Snow with Snow
Having a particularly snowy winter? Use that extra white stuff to your advantage. Pile snow as high as you can against your house. It seems counterintuitive, but snow will actually act as natural insulation and add an extra layer of protection against cold winds.
5. Come Clean, Vent
Give your dryer vent a thorough cleaning. We’re not talking about the lint trap, but the vent and ducts that lead to the outside. Oftentimes, that vent becomes clogged and the flap on the outside can’t close properly, which means cold air has another path inside. Plus, the cleaner the vent is, the more efficient your dryer is.
6. Get Your Mind in the Gutter
Clean out your gutters. This tip is more about safety that staying warm. Clogged gutters can create overflowing water, which can lead to slippery and dangerous ice around your property. Keep gutters clean so water flows away from your property.
7. Room to Breathe
Make sure that radiators and radiator covers are not blocked by any clutter or furniture. Anything around the radiator will suck up and retain heat instead of letting it flow freely to warm hour home.
8. Have a fireplace?
If there’s no fire going, then make sure the flue is closed. An open flue carries smoke out of the home when a fire is burning. But if you’re not sitting in front of a roaring fire, then that open flue just welcomes cold air in. Close it! But it is extremely important that you remember to open it again whenever you make a fire, otherwise you’ll put yourself in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning!
9. Mama always said…
Do like mom always told you. Put on a sweater if you’re cold. It’s amazing how much warmer you’ll feel by just putting on an extra layer. There’s no easier or cheaper way of staying warm.
Use these tips to get a good head start on winterizing, and as you’re going through this list you might even come up with a few ideas of your own. Later, when you’re feeling more confident you can think about going a step further and picking up a caulk gun or some weather stripping. But even if you do nothing else, the tips above cost nothing and can be done relatively quickly to help you have a cozier, safer, and more winter-ready home.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com