Weatherproofing your home is an important task that both renters and homeowners should perform in the winter. There are many benefits to weatherproofing a home.
A properly weatherproofed home prevents air leaks, keeping the interior of the home warm. This is essential for the long-term maintenance of your home, as it helps you avoid the costly expenses associated with weather damage down the line. In addition, having proper insulation could save you hundreds of dollars on your winter energy bills.
Despite the savings you make by weatherproofing your home, many may not be able to invest too much money in improvements. If you have a limited budget, you might not be able to replace your furnace or have your entire home re-insulated. However, there are some low-cost strategies you can employ to address these issues. They are simple, effective and will keep your home weatherproofed until the spring.
Perform Regular Cleanings
Keeping things clean is one of the best weatherproofing strategies. Debris from your roof and gutters can often lead to their premature deterioration and lead to water damage. Clearing this debris will help prevent damage later in the winter once the snow begins to accumulate.
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Keeping your ducts clean helps keep the air flowing in the home and will improve the air quality throughout your home. If you have a chimney, you must also clean it regularly. In addition, the flue must remain closed when the fireplace is not in use. Cleaning these items yourself, or asking for help from friends or family, makes this one of the cheapest weatherproofing options.
Lower the Water Heater Temperature
A water heater is key to maintaining your home’s warmth, though the high costs of keeping it running may become expensive. An easy solution to this is to lower the default temperature. Often, water heaters are installed with a default of 140 degrees. If you lower it to 120 degrees, there will likely be no noticeable differences to your comfort. You will also save money on your water bill each month, while still running the heater as needed in the winter months.
Placing an insulating blanket around the heater keeps additional heat from escaping without dipping into your budget. The heater uses less power to maintain its temperature once the blanket is in place, which saves money throughout the winter.
Seal Holes and Leaks
Air leaks in your windows and doors let warm air out and allow the damp, cool air to settle inside your home. This can cause in increase in your home energy usage and lead to higher energy bills. Take some time to search for the source of drafts in your home and use foam or caulk to seal them. Pay attention to any gaps around the door and window fittings, as these are typically the biggest problem areas. Weather-stripping is required for moveable parts, such as the windows and doors themselves.
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Make sure to look for any signs of water damage on the exterior of your home. A waterproof seal around your doors and windows will prevent any further moisture from accumulating inside your home due to gaps.
You can also use a sealant to block up any cracks in your walkway or patio, as these allow water to seep in and freeze, worsening the damage.
If you have a draft coming through a gap under your door, you can make your own draft excluder with scrap fabric from around the house, instead of paying for one of the pricier options available in the store.
Check Your Attic
If you have an attic, pay special attention to this area when weatherproofing your home. Due to its location, an attic often lets out more warmth than any other room. There may be unnoticed holes and cracks in the roof that require sealants. If you only have the budget for insulation in one area of your home, the attic may be the best place for it.
Replace or Cover Windows
Even if you have sealed all gaps around your windows, the thin glass lets out a significant amount of warm air. Purchasing new windows, or storm windows, is an option for some. When sticking to a low budget, consider these options:
- Swap out light drapes for heavier fabrics. They serve as added insulation to keep the warmth inside.
- Cover the windows in plastic. This is another method of trapping the heat in your home. You can purchase kits for this at a hardware store, or use shrink wrap.
- Use bubble wrap to cover your windows. It is a less-expensive insulating option, although it may limit your view of the outside.
Maintain Vents and Heating Systems
Performing routine maintenance on your heating and ventilation systems helps to keep your home weatherproofed throughout the winter. Replacing filters and keeping ducts clear are all inexpensive tasks that can make a big difference in the long run. Not only can you keep your home warm, but you can also avoid any issues from worsening to the point where you will need to consult a professional.
Lower Your Thermostat
If you want to keep the effects of the cold weather at bay, using your heater throughout the winter is a must. However, you will need to find cost effective solutions to lower your heating bills while retaining a comfortable level of warmth. One way of achieving this is by lowering your thermostat every time you go out and at night. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule in your home to reduce and increase the temperature. It is an effective and affordable investment. Alternatively, you can also set a reminder for yourself to change the temperature manually if you do not want to invest in a new thermostat.
Install Ceiling Fans
While you may not think to use a ceiling fan in the winter, they can be extremely useful in keeping a room warm. The summer setting for a fan is counter-clockwise to produce cool air and offer a chilling effect. Setting your fan to a clockwise setting brings the warm air back down from the ceiling above the fan and pushes it out toward the walls.
Perform an Energy Audit
If you are unsure which areas in your home need attention, you may need an energy audit. This process will indicate where you are losing heat and allow you to prioritize your weatherproofing projects.
Paying a professional to perform an energy audit on your home may be too expensive for your budget. However, you may be able to perform one yourself with a little research. It is worth checking with your utility company to see if they offer complimentary energy audits for their customers.
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