The following post is by MSG staff writer, Shondell of Call Me What You Want, Even Cheap. She blogs about her recent car loan and mortgage pay off of over $95k and a whole bunch more. Check out her blog right here.
It’s almost a postcard scene: a front yard covered in white, frosted windows, and the crackling sound in your place. Of course, this is far off from happening if you have not prepared your home for the winter season. You can actually end up with the brutal cold seeping under your doorway or the heavy snow causing a problem with the trees on your yard. With five simple ways, you can turn your house into a winter wonderland. Here are 5 ways to prepare your home for the winter. (You can read 5 other tips for preparing your home for winter as well.)
1. Insulate your attic
This is probably the most important tip. It’s not rocket science to fight off the cool temperature with warmth through insulation. The attic is the easiest place to add insulation. By adding 12 to 15 inches of insulation in your attic, you can prevent the low temperature from transferring into the rest of the house. An average-size house would possibly cost $500 for the installation of insulation. You can even install these yourselves which would take about two to three hours.
2. Seal your house
Your insulation will be useless if the warm air can easily leak outside. Check for open holes around your house by holding up a lit candle around common trouble spots. If the candle flickers, then there is a change in the air and the cold temperature can seep in from those spots. These areas include the window frames, door frames, vents to your dryer, baseboards, and spaces around your air conditioning system.
Aside from sealing off these spots, you should also change those already sealed off ones. Seals around ducts deteriorate over time and needs regular maintenance. You can seal visible ducts in the attic and basement by yourself by using a roll of HVAC foil tape to tape around the joints. Bigger holes would need a fiberglass weave and a water-based mastic air duct sealant. For more complicated duct work inside the walls, you may need to hire a technician.
3. Wrap your heater
You should also wrap your water heater during winter. For a cost of $25 and time duration of 30 minutes, you can buy and install fiberglass and a plastic insulating blanket on your heater. This can minimize the energy consumption of your water heater to less than the average 14 to 25 percent.
4. Clear your filters
You need your central air system to be working in top shape during the winter. Dirty and clogged air filters will cause the system to work overtime in maintaining the heat in your house. Not only will it consume more energy and more money, but also easily wear off causing you to have it prematurely repaired or changed. To help, change your filters every three months.
5. Insulate light switches
From the previous tips, you should have observed one main task—seal the holes. Light switches and outlet covers are also conduits of these holes. Though they’re thin plastic covers, cold air can easily get through the holes behind the cover. Install foam gaskets under the light switch and outlets to solve this problem.