Jack Frost—Extended Stay For The Long-Haul
It looks like this wild winter won’t be letting up anytime soon, with Jack Frost moving in out back. But don’t let him move in this year! We thought it was a good time to share some ways of winterizing your home. Replacing your windows is always an excellent approach — also increasing the value of your home — but it’s not always a feasible option in the middle of winter.
So, here is our list of the 10 best ways to winterize your house. A few of these tips might require a drive to a local hardware store, but the majority you can do without leaving your home, using household products in just under five minutes. These tips can also end up saving you thousands of dollars in repair costs, while keeping you insulated and warm:
1. Turn your faucets on
The best way to prevent your pipes from freezing (both indoor and outdoor) is to let a little water trickle through them during the winter months. Just turn the knob a bit — enough to allow a few drops every minute — to keep the water flowing on colder winter nights. A frozen-through pipe will stay frozen throughout the day, or worse — burst completely. It’s better to be prepared than have to replace all that plumbing.
2. Wrap your pipes
If your pipes do freeze, try wrapping them in a hot towel. This will slowly and safety break up the ice inside, freeing it enough to start flowing. You can also pour boiling water on the pipes, but this could be dangerous and lead to increased damage to your plumbing, especially if you’re not careful.
3. Open the cabinet doors
The easiest way to prevent kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room pipes from freezing is to simply open the cabinet doors. This will let your home’s warmth circulate and reach under sinks to prevent freezing.
4. Run your ceiling fan in reverse
When a fan runs counterclockwise, it provides a cool breeze aimed downward. But since heat rises toward the ceiling, you’ll want to reverse the fan’s natural rotation so it spins clockwise, thereby pushing the heat back down toward the floor. This could cut your heating costs by up to 10 percent in winter!
5. Flush your water heater
Debris and sediment collect at the bottom of water heaters over time, making them less effective. Try flushing water through the drain valve to clean it out, then you’ll get more hot water and save on utility costs.
6. Prevent under-door drafts
Did you know that drafts can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use? You can buy draft blockers at any hardware store, or you can simply roll up a towel and place it horizontally across the bottom of the door.
7. Weatherproof your windows
Insulating your windows can prevent up to 70 percent of your heat from escaping. You can purchase an insulation kit from any hardware store, or you can do it yourself with a sheet of bubble wrap and some tape. Also, put tape around the window frame, or use some light caulking to seal up any open space.
8. Seal up those ducts
Up to 30 percent of your home’s heated air escapes through open ducts. Your duct may have an open/close lever to shut it, or you can easily tape cardboard, plastic, or paper over the opening.
9. Install a programmable thermostat
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to one percent on your entire energy bill for every degree you lower your home’s temperature. Actually, there are several federal tax credits you can claim for energy efficiency. Here’s a state-by-state list.
10. Use a chimney balloon
A large amount of heat can escape from your open chimney. If you’re not using it to keep warm, then close it off with a chimney balloon, available from most hardware stores.