There’s nothing worse than coming home to a cold house on a cold day! A few simple steps can help you keep your home cozy and save you money all winter long.Blocking cold air from leaking into your home can help make your home feel much warmer. A smoke pencil is an easy way to find the biggest culprits of air leakage in your home. When you light the smoke pencil, a thin stream of non-toxic smoke is released and you simply run it around doors, windows, outlets, baseboards, and plumbing intake holes to see where air is leaking into or out of your home. Simple and effective!
For drafty windows and patio doors, a removable sealant is a waterproof and weatherproof way to seal around edges to stop outside air from leaking in. Bonus – it’s easy to remove once the warmer weather returns! Another temporary fix is to use a plastic insulation kit on the interior of windows and doors that you shrink-wrap with a hair dryer to create an airtight barrier from the cold. Who would have thought your everyday hair dryer had more purpose than just giving you that fabulous blowout?
For around doors, there are many different types of weather-stripping products that are effective at sealing out cold air. A rubber sponge tape is one of the easiest to install. Simply cut to fit, then peel and stick to the doorframe. Choose a thickness that will compress to seal out air, but still allow the door to close securely. Installing a sweep under the door will help stop air from coming in from under the threshold. If you’re looking for an effective low-tech option, a draft snake would be your best bet!
For leaky light switches and electrical outlets, specially designed seals are an easy and economical fix. For sealing larger holes in your home, expanding foam insulation is an ideal solution.In addition to regular yearly service, one of the best ways increase the efficiency of your furnace is to make sure that you regularly change your filters. Check your filter once a month during the winter and replace it when recommended by the manufacturer.
When you heat your home during the winter months, the air is going to be much drier… and dry air feels colder. Adding a furnace humidifier will allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees lower because the moister air will feel warmer, saving you money on energy costs.Insulating your hot water tank and water pipes can also boost energy efficiency, especially if they are located in unheated areas of a home, like an unfinished basement. To see if your water heater is losing heat, simply hold your hand against the side of the tank. If it feels warm to the touch, install an insulation jacket to trap in some of that lost heat. For gas-fired heaters, take extra care to ensure that the jacket remains clear of the pilot flame.
For hot water pipes, do the same warm-to-the-touch test and insulate the first three feet leading to and from the tank, as well as any pipes that run through unheated areas to protect against freezing. Tubular foam insulation or pipe insulation wrap are easy-to-install options.Of course, the best time to winterize your home is before the cold weather hits. Utilize the above tips or visit your local Home store for Expert Advice on the best materials and methods to help keep you and your home toasty all winter long, and save a few bucks while doing so!