Don’t be a grasshopper: 5 tips to prepare your home for winter

October 29, 2014
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No one wants to be like the Grasshopper from Aesop’s Fable and be unprepared when winter arrives.  Read these winterizing tips and don’t get caught in the cold!

Enjoy Fall, Prepare for Winter

My favorite season is fall. I love the cool, refreshing breezes in the evening and the brightness of the leaves before they fall away for the winter. The smells and the seasonings of pumpkin and squash, allspice and nutmeg, leave little to be desired when the temperature finally drops.

 

Pumpkins, courtesy of Adam Fagen, Flickr

Photo ©Adam Fagen, via Flickr

 

Fall is fun to relax in and enjoy, but it’s also the universal signal to get ready for the winter. Here are 5 important tasks to take care of before you flip on your heating and the first snow decorates our county. Get them done now so you can enjoy the beautiful (and cooler) days of autumn, knowing that you’re set for the next season.

Thermostat, courtesy of _vikram, Flickr

Photo ©_vikram, via Flickr

 

The Basics

  • Inspect, clean, and replace air filters on heating system. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment – you wouldn’t want that on a winter night! Tip: Ask your contractor to show you how, and set a monthly reminder on your phone.
  • Check and clear your vents. Be sure that all your heating intakes and fans or radiators are cleared of any furniture, bedding, toys, or other items.
  • Schedule your programmable thermostat (or get one if you don’t have one yet) to turn off heat when you leave the house. Tip: Schedule the heat to turn down 15 minutes before you leave the house; you can enjoy the residual heat as you pack your things and head out the door.
  • Get blankets out of the closet and onto beds and furniture. If there’s a cozy quilt to wrap up in, you’ll be more likely to grab that if it’s nearby, than to crank up the heat.
  • Look ahead at your energy costs. If you’re on delivered fuels, consider buying early to avoid high-demand winter pricing. If you use natural gas, see if your utility offers a budget plan that may help ease the winter energy use. If you think you might need assistance, research the energy assistance resources available to keep the heat on and bills low.

More tips? Visit ENERGY STAR’s Efficient Heating tips.

 

Dog Under Covers, courtesy of Brett Neilson, Flickr

Photo ©Brett Neilson, via Flickr

Advanced Steps

If you’ve done all these already and want to go further, take on one or more of the activities below and shave off even more of your winter energy bills.

  • Seal up any major leaks or complete any insulation projects that make sense. Air sealing will go a long way in terms of comfort. Tip: An energy audit will help you find the hidden holes in your home.
  • Replace or repair weather stripping. Check the edges of your high-traffic doors to be sure the weather stripping and frames are fitting correctly.
  • Insulate your water heater and pipes. Follow the step-by-step instructions to keep your water heater from working harder than it needs to.

 

Weather stripping

 

Guest blog by Michelle Vigen, Senior Energy Planner, DEP



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