It seems like only yesterday that we were out enjoying the great (warm) outdoors at our cottages, lakes and so on. The days were sunny, the evenings were cool; we’d admire the gradual change in scenery as each tree in sight became more and more vibrant with time. And then without warning, as it does every year, it just hits us: winter. We feel it coming, we know it’ll be here in a quick blink of an eye, but it still somehow manages to sneak up on us. We ask ourselves if we’re even ready for winter, if we can prepare for it in such little time, and so on (if only we could just call a seasonal time-out!). The good news, however, is that we won’t need to. Getting ready for winter isn’t as complex and bone-chilling as it may seem. In fact, here are a few things you can do in order to protect and prepare your home for the winter:
Make sure your furnace is either replaced or cleaned: It’s advised that you change your furnace filter at least once a month during the winter months to avoid resistance of airflow. If, by chance, you feel this step may occasionally slip your mind month-to-month, try adding a recurring reminder on your phone or in your calendar. It works! You can also try “switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce waste and hassle”. Perhaps consider upgrading to a furnace that’s considered to be more efficient – it’ll save you even more money year after year.
Turn down your water heater: Most water heaters are automatically set to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit by installers upon placement into your home. In actuality, however, most of us don’t particularly need that high of heat, nor do we need that much steam. Avoid paying for an excess amount of heat by turning your water heater down to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Fact: doing so will reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10%. You can also consider insulating your water pipes in order to avoid them from freezing during our colder months.
Install storm doors and/or windows: This is a simple (albeit maybe a pain for some) task that can increase energy efficiency by 45%. How? “By sealing drafts and reducing air flow”. This said, an installation such as this will be well worth the work.
Seal your air ducts: It pays to have a technician come into your home and assess your ductwork. He/she will test your system and fix any problems accordingly. Did you know that, according to studies, “10 to 30% of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from ducts”? Protect your home from mold and dust this winter, and save a few dollars too!
For more information, follow this link. It’ll give you even more advice (and an extension of the aforementioned tidbits posted above!) on how you and your family can prepare your home for when winter comes. And remember: change your clocks and check your smoke alarms – they should go hand in hand!