Especially for those who live in areas with cold temperatures, the fall is the best time to get your home ready before chilling risks become your worst nightmare. Even in warmer climate areas, freezing can happen and pipes can easily burst. Before any first-time homeowners begin to panic, there are a few winterizations tips to save money and energy that can help avoid costly damage during winter.
Ways to Prepare Your Home This Winter
• Clean gutters out of all debris and make sure the downspouts are positioned away from your home’s foundation.
• Cut away tree branches that hang over your house, or that touch the roof and windows. Moisture buildup on branches can cause limbs to be heavy and this can lead them to fall or create damage on the roof and windows.
Protect Water Lines
• Pay attention to your water lines located in the attic or crawl spaces and find areas of piping that might be exposed to harsh winds and cold temperatures.
• Wrap water lines that are located in crawl spaces with insulation and heat tape and be sure that the heat tape is working.
• If you have a crawl space that has vents to allow air circulation within it, you’ll want to close the vents to protect the water lines from cold drafts.
Get Your Faucets Ready
• Especially for areas that freeze at night, allow a small trickle of cold water to run from your faucet. This keeps water moving in your pipes, which prevents freezing.
• Open cabinet doors underneath sinks to keep warm room air circulating around the pipes.
Check Windows and Doors
• Large gaps around window frames and doors can allow air drafts to leak inside, and it also allows warm air to escape outside, so make sure the weatherstripping is in place. If not, self-sticking weatherstripping or caulking helps seal these up.
• Humidifiers are a great way to reset the humidity level based on the outside air temperature. A humidifier with controls is recommended to help keep a normal humidity level of 35 to 45 percent. As temperatures dip into single digits, the humidifier should be set closer to 20 percent.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
• Life becomes a little easier with a programmable thermostat by allowing you to set your desired temperature without worry. A programmable thermostat also allows you to save money on your energy bills, especially in the winter.
• You only need to change the temperature by a degree or two to be able to save money and energy.
Do a Quick Refrigerator Check
• Another inside tip: set your refrigerator temperature at the Energy Efficiency setting. The recommended refrigerator setting for food safety and energy efficiency is 36 to 38 degrees F. Set the freezer at 0 to 5 degrees F. Having your appliances set any colder than this wastes energy and your money.