Winter in many parts of the U.S. can be frigid, particularly during cold snaps. Bitter cold temperatures outside mean your home heating system is working hard to maintain comfortable temperatures inside. The cost of many home heating options is rising, which can be budget-crippling during especially cold periods. These tips will help you protect your home and your budget from the cold.
Protect Your Roof
If your roof is older (or even if it’s fairly new), you might consider having a contractor inspect it for damage before the worst of winter hits. If your roof is in disrepair or hasn’t been installed properly, your insurance company might not cover damage resulting from snow. You should also clean your gutters and make sure there’s adequate insulation in your attic to prevent ice dams, which can lead to water buildup and leaks. Likewise, trim any overhanging limbs that could fall and damage your roof.
Change the Direction of Your Ceiling Fan
By switching the direction of your ceiling fan (which can be done using the remote if you have one or with the switch on the motor housing), your fan will help to circulate warm air back down into the room. With your fan running in the normal direction, warm air rises and tends to stay in the upper portion of the room. By forcing it to circulate downward, you can cut down on heating costs.
Switch to a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to set a temperature range for specific times of the day. That means you can program your thermostat to be slightly cooler while you’re away, but not cool enough that your pipes could be at risk of freezing. Surprisingly, you can also program slightly cooler temperatures overnight, which might lead to improved sleep as cooler temperatures have been shown to help us rest a little easier. Of course, the big payoff is that programming your thermostat keeps your home heating costs within a reasonable and expected range.
Don’t Forget Your Pool
You shouldn’t just throw the cover on your pool and forget about it until the temperatures heat back up. And in fact, if you pay special attention to your pool’s chemical levels this winter, you can save yourself money when it’s time to dive in come spring or summer. Throughout the winter, keep an eye on your pool’s pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels. By doing so you can keep your pool walls looking clean and protect your pool’s plumbing system from damage.
Make Sure Your Furniture Does Not Block Heating Vents
Heating vents aren’t always in the most convenient locations for your preferred furniture arrangement, but it’s worth sacrificing your ideal layout to make sure that your heating vents aren’t blocked by furniture. Vents blocked by furniture don’t disperse heat as well throughout a room; plus, too many blocked vents can really disrupt the overall heat flow throughout your home by causing a “house-wide pressure imbalance,” which can drive up heating costs by placing additional demands on your home heating system.
Seal Those Air Leaks
Your home may have various cracks and leaks around windows and doors that allow precious warm air to escape. This is exactly what’s meant by the phrase, “heating the outside.” Allowing warm air to escape and cold air to flow into your home makes for an incredibly inefficient, and therefore costly, heating system. These leaks are an easy fix: Simply identify drafty areas and air leaks and fill any cracks with indoor caulk or other materials. You can also use draft-stoppers under drafty doors.
Staying warm doesn’t have to cost a fortune this winter. Keep your home heating costs down and your home warm and cozy with a few simple steps to protect both your home and your budget.
Paul Denikin got into DIY home repair projects after his daughter was born with special needs. His initial efforts were all motivated by the desire to make his home more accessible for her. He learned everything he knows through trial and error and many helpful YouTube videos. He created DadKnowsDIY.com to share some of the great resources he’s come across and to offer home improvement project how-tos and other accessibility information.
*Photo by Images Money via Flickr
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