Believe it or not, I only recently learned what home winterizing was (or at least got a good grasp around what it means). Somewhat taboo given the many answers floating online, after much digging & research I've compiled some good cost effective actions you can take to winterize your home. But first, let me explain what I've interpreted it to mean:
Typically associated with vacant properties and especially emphasized on foreclosures, a winterized home is one that's been prepared for cold temperature extremes to keep the heat in and the plumbing systems working as normal. Given the different seasons houses typically endure, these pro-active steps should help the property with normal maintenance as well as save you a few dollars through its energy conservation. Makes sense and seems practical; cars need winter maintenance & homes do too.
Here are 6 great ways to Winterize your home:
1. Screen Doors:
Many homes that could benefit from a screen door don't have them. Aesthetics sometimes plays a role; the residence may look better without one given the front door style. Other factors such as costs come into consideration as well. However, if there was one major area to invest in to seal out and reduce drafts, it would be this. According to Popular Mechanics, installing a storm door can increasing energy efficiency by 45%. Not to mention, they are an added security feature & great for letting in natural light or fresh air on warm days.
2. DIY Insulate Windows:
So you don't have the funds to splurge on new windows this season...no problem. Your local hardware store has plenty of options to combat the cold air you feel by the windows. For our house we used Frost King's "Patio Door Insulation Kit". For less than $10 and a little bit of your time, you can easily keep more heat in and better keep the draft out. We do this every winter and even when the blinds are open, you can hardly notice it.
3. Thermostat Settings:
By now you've probably seen those Nest thermostats that simplify heat and air usage by learning your schedule. Though I really like the sleek design and user-interface, I still haven't jumped on the bandwagon just yet. Instead, I work with what I have and make sure to turn it down when I leave the house. According to Business Insider, turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hrs a day can save you 10% per year. Of course we want a warm home (which is why a programmable thermostat is the way to go), but if hours of energy are being consumed by an empty house, in addition to the heat being wasted, so is your money.
4. Ceiling Fan Direction:
Did you know ceiling fans move counter-clockwise to produce cool air & clockwise to make warm air? Not that I've ever paid much attention, but that's pretty neat! Try running your heat for a bit then turn your fans on to keep the warm air recirculating throughout your house.
5. Water Heater Temp:
Rarely do I ever mess with the water heater but wipe it off if it gets dusty. Of course there's regular maintenance that takes place, but as the saying goes: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So naturally, it never occurred to me that I could turn the water heater's temp down from its default settings about 20 degrees or so and still enjoy the normal usage. Everything still flows the same and heats up when needed but now while saving 6-10% on average.
6. A/C Water Valve:
I don't know much about the A/C unit mechanically other than it is one of the most expensive replacements to make in a home. According to Business Insider, shutting off the A/C water valve prevents excess water from building up in the equipment. If you suspect that there is a leak, by doing this, you'll keep the pipes from freezing and potentially bursting. Ultimately saving yourself from possibly having to replace the entire A/C unit all together.
Though we are midway through winter, these changes still can make a good deal of difference in energy consumption and your homes comfortability. Are there other things that you do to winterize your home? If so, tell us in the comments below. As always, be safe and Happy New Year!