Reduce heating costs - prepare your home for winter

Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance the weather is cooling down and autumn has arrived. Despite being quite possibly the most gorgeous time of the year, autumn, unfortunately, is a direct gateway to winter, which is cold and damp and generally nowhere near as great as autumn.

With winter on the horizon, it’s time to start preparing your home for the season ahead. Here’s (most) everything you need to do to prep your house and keep the cold outside, where it belongs.

  • Check the roof. You don’t need a formal inspection, but it’s a good idea to take a trip up the ladder and make sure there are no loose or damaged shingles on your roof. You’re much better off getting repairs done now, before the snow starts to fly.
  • Clean the gutters. While you’ve got the ladder out, it’s time to clear those gutters. Built-up debris in your gutters means that the water can’t sluice off like it should, which could lead to frozen debris, which could lead to your gutter getting too heavy and falling off the side of your house. You know…as a worst case scenario.
  • Weatherstrip your doors and windows. No drafts allowed. Heating a home is expensive enough as it is. Don’t let any of that precious heat sneak out through gaps around your windows and doors. Replace worn out weatherstripping and install storm windows (if you have them). Check the exterior of your window frames for gaps – you can use silicone caulk to fill those yourself. At the very least, you can always grab a few DIY weather-sealing kits and install plastic covers over the interior of your windows.
  • Tune up your furnace. Get a professional to come in and give your heating system a tune up. It may cost a little, but your furnace will operate more efficiently and there’s less chance you’ll experience a breakdown during the winter (when you least want your furnace to break down).
  • Clean your chimney. If you’ve got a fireplace, make sure your chimney flue is nice and clean. This helps prevent chimney fires, which are not things you want.
  • Insulate everything. Ok, not everything, but if you don’t feel like you’re getting enough bang for your heating buck, insufficient insulation might be the cause. Consider adding insulation to your attic and walls. Meanwhile, you can also wrap your water pipes in insulation to prevent freezing, and you can wrap your water heater to increase efficiency.
  • Stock up on cocoa. And dig your snowsuit out of the closet while you’re at it.

Winter is coming. Outside of relocating to the tropics, there’s not much you can do to prevent the coming cold. But if you’ve got the time and the gumption, there’s a lot you can do keep the cold outside and the heat inside. You'll keep your house nice and toasty and your heating bills small and manageable.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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