Weatherizing your Home for the Winter
I don’t know about you all, but here in North Florida it still feels like summer. So it’s not too late for us Floridians – or any of us, for that matter – to start thinking about winterizing our homes. We wanted to share several free and inexpensive ways you can keep the cold out and the heat in, while saving money and increasing the energy efficiency in your home.
Some opportunities that cost you nothing but your time and maybe a little sweat:
- Clean your gutters! This one is for those who see snow and ice in the winter season. Keeping your gutters clean allows the water to flow freely, and prevents water dams or icicles form forming.
- Ceiling fans. Did you know that if you have your ceiling fan rotating clockwise that the warm air from the ceiling is forced down into the room?! Conversely, in the spring and summer months, rotating your fans counterclockwise will cool the room.
- Water heater. Flush the water heater before the winter season hits. Over time, sediment and particles build up in the bottom of the tank. Flushing the sediment out improves the efficiency of your water heater, and extends its longevity as well. While we’re on water heaters…save energy by lowering the temperature of your unit (120 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect).
Low cost opportunities to improve energy efficiency in the winter months:
- Changing or cleaning our air filters monthly impacts the air conditioning and heating unit’s effectiveness over time, in addition to extending the life of these expensive beasts. Most filters cost less than $10.
- Draft guards and weather stripping are your friends. These methods block warm air from escaping and cold air from getting in. If you don’t have a draft guard, or don’t want to purchase one for $10, a towel works just as well.
- Window insulation is a lesser known method to help winterize your home. This clear film can be purchased and installed as a DIY project for $30 or less (per kit). I’ve seen some folks use bubble wrap with similar effects – not as nice to look at, but an A+ for resourcefulness.
- Chimney balloons come in handy for times when your chimney is not in use and the weather is stifling cold outside. These balloons can be purchased for about $50 and can be easily installed and removed as needed, so you are still able to use the fire place as often as you like.
- Caulking any gaps in the windows and doors is a simple afternoon project that can easily cost less than $30, depending on how much you need and whether you buy a more high-end caulking gun.
- Lastly, it always helps to add additional attic and/or basement insulation when it’s super cold outside.
We hope these ideas for saving on cost and prolonging the life of your home and it’s necessary appliance was helpful to you. Don’t you feel a project coming on now?!