How to Winterize your Home
If you are poorly prepared for winter you will often find yourself at the receiving end of high energy bills, health bills, and a cold home. Winterizing your home does not have to be an expensive affair or major changes in the house building structure. You use a few basic steps and tricks to make your home comfortable enough in the cold season.
Update the heater
A failing heater is the source of misery for many homeowners. Have an HVAC expert check your heater and the other components of the air conditioning. Some of the issues the expert can look at include carbon monoxide safety, air filters, blowers and piping to the furnace. An early service will cost you less than what it would in the winter.
Reverse the fan
Reversing the fan makes it run clockwise pushing warm air back into the room. This cuts on the need to have the heater on for a longer period. Many modern fans have a button that can switch the running of the fan. Remember to check the ventilation if the air becomes too stuffy, and return the fan to the usual setting when it is warm enough.
Leaks in the walls, doors and windows bring in drafts of cold air. Fix these leaks to avoid heat loss in the house. You can fix them by using waterproof caulking, weather stripping or simply bunch up old rags against the leaks.
Check if the insulation in the attic, walls, and basement is intact. A minimum of 12 inches is needed in the attic for example. Check for the right thickness and for any breaks in the insulation. When laying new insulation remove the paper backing.
Inspect the chimney
If you are using coal or wood fuel for heating check the chimney for any blockage. Dust, leaves, and small animals often get stuck in the chimney. Clear it to prevent any fires from stuck combustibles, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Install carbon monoxide detectors
Many homes run the heater for extended periods in the cold season. If the ventilation is poor, there is a high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas which can only be detected by special devices. Install these detectors to be on the safe side.
Have a 3-day kit
Stock adequately in case you will have to stay indoors for an extended period. Fierce snowstorms and blizzards have become more common. Stock enough food, water, and an ample supply of entertainment.