By Stephanie Hell
It might very well be several weeks before you can feel your toes again, and although the temperature isn’t dropping right now, it may seem significantly colder inside after braving weeks of the icy wrath. In fact, there may be some new additional warmth-sucking gaps in your otherwise winter-proofed home since you last checked. So if you're ready to soldier through the rest of the winter, these quick and easy-to-do check-ups will help you coast into spring.
Check your Doors
If you missed the draft coming in from the garage or basement on your first winter inspection, there’s a quick way to shore up that gap with machine washable draft-dodgers that will keep the warm air inside and the nasty cold outside. There is a size that fits most doors for under $10. If you’re not a fan of the utility look, you can find simple ways to fashion your own washable cover and add a little of your own interior design to the item. Or, since you’re not using it right now, roll up your beach towel on each end, and place the unrolled mid-section under the door.
Check your Windows
Weatherstripping is inexpensive and easy to place exactly where gaps often occur due to stress from wind and ice. Small gaps can quickly become larger, so it’s a good idea to check again and spend the $5-$10 to keep the cold away. Caulking can be used also for a barrier which holds up well for small areas. Easy to find window insulation kits are also inexpensive to add once the gaps are eliminated.
Check Your Attic’s Insulation
That nasty cold wind can sometimes cause the insulation to move around, and some homeowners have reported an entire area lacking any insulation due to the physics of motion. It’s easy to take a peek with a flashlight and quick to view any problem areas. Although this may seem a DIY fix, someone will need to repair the gaps that allowed the wind to enter in the first place. Otherwise, your quick patch will come undone again. Insulation specialists can quickly fix this common problem.
Check Your Thermostat
Thermostats have a pesky way of failing and keeping tight-lipped about it. Those defiant little boxes are sometimes inaccurately telling your system to shut off before reaching the desired temperature. If you check the thermostat when the system shuts down and it’s not what you ordered, the repair can be very simple and inexpensive. Sometimes it’s even just a matter of moving it from a place that’s too warm and throws off its thermometer. If you don’t already have one, consider a battery-run or programmable thermostat. You can then take control of your favorite settings, not the other way around.
Check Your Filters
If you have a forced air system, nothing can slow its efficiency more than being clogged with the dust and dirt it inevitably inhales from attics and basements. If you remember the last time you were clogged up with the mucous party of a cold or the flu and tried to take a big, deep breath, you’ll have an idea of what your system is going through all day when it’s filters are thick with debris. These need to be changed more often if you have pets, too, so a once-a-month change may not be enough. Check every few weeks and adjust if needed.
Check Your Closest Heater
Keeping in mind you are a walking heater of over 95 degrees, use your personal renewable energy source wisely. Keep your body heat close to home with two or three layers of sweaters, heavy socks, and insulated long johns. As long as you are feeling the warmth of your personal space, plan some slow cooking or baking on especially cold days. Just the smell alone will make you feel better.
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