As summer fades and the kids head back to school, your mind may turn toward the task of preparing your home for colder weather. According to one 2017 report, homeowners in some states saw energy bills that averaged nearly $400 a month last year, and if the upcoming winter is a cold one, these costs may rise. However, there are a few strategies you can use for winterproofing your home, and most are simple and affordable.
Get a Furnace Tune-Up
You may not give the heating component of your HVAC system much thought, especially with colder temperatures at least a month or two away. However, having it tuned up before cold weather hits is a wise choice because you can target any potential problems now rather than trying to find an available company later on in the season. Some furnace companies may even offer maintenance deals this time of year, which can save you money when you compare it to an emergency call later on.
An HVAC or furnace tune-up can include a variety of services, including duct and vent cleaning, a check of the pilot light, and an inspection of all major parts inside the furnace. Having the ducts inspected and resealed if necessary can help you prevent the waste of heated air all winter long.
Buy Energy-Saving Outdoor Lights
While you may not see too many sunny days over the course of the winter, buying outdoor solar lights may still be an option. For example, if you live in a state that sees mild winters, such as Texas, replacing older lighting systems with solar lights can save you a noticeable amount on your electricity bill. Consider using solar stakes to light your driveway or solar wall mounts on your porch to offer extra light for the front entrance.
Close Up Unused Rooms
If you have a child that recently left for college or you have rooms that you only use during the summer, such as a sunroom, you can save money on your heating bill by closing down the HVAC air flow and sealing up the vents with magnetic strips to minimize any heat waste in these areas. Use weather stripping tape along the windows and to prevent any air from escaping through the space between the door and the floor.
Clean and Inspect Your Gutters
Over the course of the summer, wind and thunderstorms may have clogged your gutter with twigs, leaves, and other debris that can block water flow. When fall arrives and your backyard trees begin to shed their leaves, this can contribute to clogs that may cause poor drainage, wasted irrigation water, and a flooded basement.
As you clean your gutters, ensure that they are aligned properly so water flow is not interrupted or creates leaks. This can be especially important if you recycle rainwater throughout the fall to hydrate your trees or late-fall vegetables and plants. The Cadiz Water Project can provide you with more information on how to preserve water and how the project is working toward a solution to stop drought conditions in California.
Have Your Water Heater Checked
A malfunctioning water heater can mean serious trouble when the temperatures dip outside. It can also mean an increase in your water bill. If your home’s heater is more than ten years old, having it checked and drained of sediment can help it perform more efficiently and provide you with hot water for showers, laundry, and other uses all winter long.
There is much to look forward to when summer ends and the cooler temperatures arrive. However, taking the time to winterize your home can help you save you money, energy, and the hassle of emergency repairs over the course of a long, cold winter.