7 Quick Ways to Winterize your Home for Cheap (or FREE)
Clean the Gutters
You've heard it before, but it’s always super important. Making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later. Cost: Other than your sweat (depending on where you live) and time, free.
Flush the Water Heater
Particles and sediment can collect over time in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit's efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater functioning at its best. Cost: 100% free!
Switch Ceiling Fans to Clockwise
Ceiling fans are everyone's favorite summer budget-saver. But they can help out in the winter as well! Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction so they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor. If they're going counterclockwise, they won't be as effective. Try to associate setting your clocks back with setting your fans clockwise, that way you’ll always be in good shape when winter comes out of nowhere. Cost: free if you have a fan.
Replace H/VAC Filters
Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating system can significantly improve its efficiency and longevity, while easing the pressure on your wallet. Cost: a new filter runs about $10.
Install Window Insulation Film
It may not be the most fashionable tip, but window insulation film can keep up to 70% of your heat from leaking out of windows. Remember, if you are concerned about the appearance you can always just do the side and rear windows, that way the people you don’t know who drive by your house won’t judge you (about your windows at least.) Cost: $20 to $35 per kit.
Use Draft Guards
Draft guards can help save heat from escaping under the door. Cost: $10 to $15. (If you don't want to shell out for a draft guard, a rolled towel placed at the bottom of an exterior door will also do the trick.) Don’t be afraid to get crafty and creative, like your grandmother used to - stuff some nylons or bug tube socks with beads or beans or whatever and seal off areas of the house that are not used as often.
Caulk It - Caulk It All
Any remaining gaps in siding, windows, or doors can be filled with caulk. For extra drafty windows and doors, caulk the inside too, pulling off moldings to fill all gaps in the insulation. Cost: $20 for a basic caulk gun and $5 to $10 for a tube of caulk. It’s OK to be trigger happy with the caulk gun - not only will you save money on your energy bill, fresh beads of caulk really clean up the look of a window or door.
So in the next weekend or two you could be pretty well prepared for the harsh, lonely, gray, cold, dreary, never-ending days of winter. You won’t have to give up your coffee or hot chocolate, either - cause you’re going to need that.