How to Keep Warm (and Save Money) by Winterizing Your Home
To help you prepare, here are eight cost-effective tips to shut out the chill and protect your home from the elements.
1. Warm yourself firstKeeping the various rooms in your home nice and warm throughout the winter can get costly. Instead of blasting the heat, dress for the season: wear warmer clothes like thicker sweaters and socks. You don’t have to go around with your winter jacket on, but an extra layer might let you set the thermostat a notch or two lower, without freezing you out.
Also, leave a couple of blankets or quilts in places where you spend a lot of time while home — like your couch or den — for some extra warmth. There’s nothing like snuggling up under a blanket with some coffee, tea, or hot chocolate on a cold winter night!
2. Be smart with thermostatsSpeaking of home heating: while it may mean spending a bit of money, investing in a programmable thermostat can save you upwards of $180 a year in home heating costs in the long term, according to Energy Star.
Some programmable thermostats can be controlled remotely via phone app and can even learn your behaviours so they can automatically set the perfect temperature throughout the day, saving you money when you’re not home.
If you think you’re up for it, you can even reduce the up-front cost by installing your new thermostat yourself, with the help of tutorial videos on YouTube.
3. Reverse your fansIf you have ceiling fans in your home, this one is pretty simple: turn them on, but in reverse mode. Instead of pushing air downward to cool you off, reverse mode pulls air upward, forcing (normally rising) warm air downward.
You’ll definitely notice the warmth, and it’ll have a small, but positive impact on your heating bill.
4. Break out the winter matsPut down a doormat with a rougher / scratchier surface during the winter, to help get the snow off your shoes and boots before you come in from outside.
Also, along with your indoor mat, keep a rubber tray in your porch for your winter footwear, and a towel to dry up any excess water. This will help protect your floors from getting damaged by melted snow or salty slush.
5. Protect your plantsWinter conditions can be particularly harmful to smaller outdoor plants. Bundle them up with burlap and twine to prevent wind or frost damage.
As it starts to get frosty, make sure you give your lawn a final mow, in order to prevent mold growth and patches of dead grass.
6. Bring things insideWhile you’re doing your outdoor prep, take the opportunity to bring any lawn or patio furniture inside, to protect against water or wind damage.
Don’t forget to disconnect and store your garden hose inside if you have one. If you leave it out, any water in the hose could potentially freeze, damaging the hose.
And don’t forget to turn off your outdoor water taps from the inside, unless you have the special outdoor taps.
7. Run your waterIn a similar vein, make sure you run all your indoor water sources occasionally — particularly ones that don’t get used as often, like in secondary bathrooms or the laundry room. Otherwise, the water in your home’s pipes might freeze, resulting in all kinds of costly plumbing problems.
8. Replace old doors and windowsOlder doors and windows can be a major source of heat leakage. Installing a new storm door, or replacing drafty windows, will keep the cold air out and your warm air in. Don’t be afraid to do this in the colder months, as you might get a better deal, and faster service.
If you’re not in a position to replace your older windows, consider putting up heavy curtains or drapes. While it’s not a perfect solution, they can certainly help insulate your home.
When your windows are closed, check that there are no air leaks. If there are, add a removable caulk to seal in the seams.