When the hot days of summer and the cool days of fall become the ice cold days of winter, you need to be ready. While we don’t want you consciously thinking of winter right now considering fall just started, you seriously never can be too prepared. There are several things that you should do in your home to keep it safe and warm during the cold winter months. While we feel it’s incredibly important for a professional to do an annual check, there are some other items you can check on your own before having to seek out someone more advanced. Here are 12 winter heating tips that should help dramatically.
1. Clean Your Gutters
By the time fall ends and winter begins, all of the leaves will have fallen from the trees. This is the perfect time to clean your gutters one last time. It your gutters are clogged, free standing water can fill them up. When it gets very cold outside, the water will turn into ice dams. This can be very damaging to your roof and to your gutters. You should also keep your downspouts pointed away from the foundation of the home, at least three to five inches to be precise. This will prevent the water coming down from causing expensive damage to the foundation of your home.
2. Check for Drafts
You should check your home for drafts at the beginning of the winter. You should check around the door and windows and the area where your pipes come into the home. If you notice a draft, you should use caulking to seal up the areas. To seal up the outdoor doors, you should use expanding foam. This will keep the heat inside and the cold air outside, saving you money on your heating costs.
3. Maintain Your Furnace
In order to be sure that your furnace is running as efficiently as possible, you should have a professional come in once a year for routine maintenance. During this checkup, they can look for any problems with the furnace and they can also change the furnace filter. When the furnace is not properly maintained, it will need to work harder, resulting in higher heating bills.
4. Clear the Vents
The heat will enter your home through the vents. Before you are ready to start using your heat, you should make sure that the vents are free and clear from rugs, drapes, and furniture. You should also go through the house and dust all of the heating vents. When they are clear, it will put less stress on your furnace.
5. Program Your Thermostat
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, you should get one. A programmable thermostat allows you to set the time that your heat will kick on and off. While you are at work, you won’t need the heat to be too warm, therefore, you can set the thermostat to turn down when you leave and turn back on when you get home. You can do the same when you go to bed. You won’t need the heat on high when you are under the covers asleep.
You can set the timer to turn the heat up an hour before you get up each day. The recommended temperature while you are home and awake is 68 degrees. For every degree your lower your heat at night and while you are at work, you can save up to 5 percent on your heating costs.
6. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
All ceiling fans have a switch that can reverse their direction. During the summer, you want your fan to blow the air straight down to cool you off, therefore, you should run the fan in a counter-clockwise direction. During the winter, you should run your fan in a clockwise direction. Since heat rises, this will direct the warm air down to the living space in the home.
7. Have Your Fire Place or Wood Stove Inspected
It is recommended that once each year you have your fireplace or wood stove cleaned and inspected. This will ensure that they will be safe for use during the summer. Having them cleaned and having your chimney cleaned will prevent a fire. You should avoid using your fireplace or wood stove to heat your home until it has had its annual inspection.
8. Install Storm Windows
When the weather starts to get cold, you should remove your screens and replace them with storm windows. This will keep the cold chill of winter from coming into the home. It will also keep the heat from escaping. Be sure not to forget to put in the glass on your screen door. This is also a good time to wash your windows.
9. Get in the Habit of Opening the Drapes
Each morning, you should open your shades and your drapes. The sunlight will increase the temperature in the home naturally. At night, you should close the blind and the drapes. This will keep it from getting drafty in the house when the sun is not out. You should put up thick drapes during the winter months.
10. Keep the Doors Closed in Unused Rooms
If you have a spare room or an office that you don’t use often, you should keep the door to those rooms closed. The less space you need to keep warm, the less stress will be put on your furnace, resulting in lower heating bills.
11. Pack Up Outdoor Furniture
At the end of fall, you likely won’t be using your outdoor furniture due to the cold weather. If you don’t want your furniture to get damaged by being exposed to the elements all winter, you should put it in the garage, basement, or in the shed. Before you put the furniture away, you should clean it with a hose or a power washer. If you do, your furniture will be nice and clean when you set it back up in the spring.
12. Turn Off Outdoor Spouts
Before the weather gets cold, you should turn off the source of water for the outdoor spouts. Also, you should pack up your hoses and put them away for the winter. If they are left out in the cold, they can crack. It can be very costly to replace them in the spring.
It is important that you prepare your home for the winter weather. Following the tips listed above will not only keep your home safe during the winter, it will also drastically reduce your heating costs.