Your Home’s Winter Checklist

Winter is coming fast! Have you prepped your home yet? Here’s a few tips to help prep your home and save you some money during these cold Michigan winters.

Seal Air Leaks

First tip, and possibly the most important is to make sure you seal any air leaks around your home. The fancy way of finding out if you have air leaks around your home is to use a thermal leak detector but there’s a few simple more cost effective ways. Use the hand test to find air leaks, place your hand around the edges of all exterior doors, windows, kitchen vents, and bathroom fans. To find smaller leaks use the candle test, light a candle and walk around your house to places which might have air leaks. Common places are near electrical outlets, light fixtures, around baseboards, and phone jacks + cable outlets.

For your major air leaks around windows and doors, grab yourself a tube of caulk for any gaps under ¼” or a can of spray foam if you have larger gaps! When caulking around the exterior of your home, be sure to use weatherproof exterior caulk. Kansas City Power and Light provide a great how to video on sealing up your leaks, you can watch it here, 5 quick ways to stop air leaks. To stop the smaller leaks around your outlet, go to your local hardware store and grab a few outlet foam rubber gaskets. These are simple to install and will help stop cold air coming in through your outlets and phone jacks.

Also, storm doors and windows are a huge help on stopping the cold air from leaking in. If you don’t want to go out and spend a ton of money on storm doors and windows, you can use a “window insulator kit” as a temporary solution.

Prep the Plumbing

Before the freezing weather hits, make sure you have taken the time to prep your plumbing. Go around your home and make sure you have brought all the garden hoses in, drained the water from the outside faucets and last but not least, if you have a built in sprinkler system, make sure you get the water drained from that as well.

Clean Gutters

Next up, time for the dreaded “gutter cleaning” before winter hits. This definitely is not the most fun task but it has to be done. Clogged gutters can cause a few problems, the obvious being water damage to your home but it can also cause a few other problems that aren’t as obvious. Mosquitos bad at your house? Clean your gutters. Mosquitos love to use the standing water in your clogged cutters to lay their eggs, which leads to a bigger problem.

Install Programmable Thermostat

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, go buy one today!  According to energy.gov, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. When you’re at home, set your thermostat around 68°F and have it turn down to around 60°F when you leave for work. You’ll be surprised how much it can save you!

Replace Furnace Filters

Decrease your energy costs and replace those clogged, dirty furnace filters. Many heating & cooling experts recommend inspecting/changing furnace filters every month but at the very minimum, be sure to replace it before winter and once again after winter.

Reverse Ceiling Fans

You don’t have to quit using your ceiling fans when winter rolls around. Reverse the fan to spin clockwise during the winter, this creates a gentle updraft which forces the warm air down to the occupied space.

Last but not least, don’t forget to prep your snowblower, grab your shovels and pick up a few bags of salt before the first snow hits!

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