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Winterize: How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

Your attic. One area where your winterization efforts will pay off big is in the attic. One fact is inescapable: heat rises. It runs into enough insulation, though, it’s going to stop rising and stay in your house, saving you mucho money. This will also prevent the build-up of ice dams on the edges of your roof, which can create all sorts of problems in terms of leaking, structural damage, etc.

So, how much insulation are we talking here? You should have 12 inches of insulation in your attic. Since ceiling joists generally run 10-11 inches, this means that if you can see the joists, you need more insulation. If you’re adding insulation to the existing insulation already there, make sure you do not use the kraft face/paper backed variety. This can act as a vapor barrier and create moisture problems in your insulation.

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Your air conditioner. If you have a large AC unit, make sure you winterize it as well. Turn off the water shut-off valve, and drain all pipes of water. Be sure you also vacuum out any standing pools of water in the unit’s drain pan. If the unit is out in the elements, invest in a plastic cover to keep the rain and snow off it and prevent rusting.

Your water heater. Whether you have an electric or gas hot water heater, you can save considerably over the course of the winter by doing two simple things. One, insulate the water heater with an insulation blanket. Much like insulating anything else, this keeps the heat in, meaning the water heater will have to run a lot less to keep it up to temperature. Speaking of which… two, turn the thermostat on the water heater down. Most water heaters are set up to run at 140 degrees F, but you’ll save a lot and miss out on nothing heat-wise by turning it down to 120 degrees F.

If you’re looking to take your water heating to the next level and really save, look into switching over to a tankless water heater or a solar hot water heating system.

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One Response to “Winterize: How To Prepare Your Home For Winter”

  1. JamiB says:

    I’m sitting here plugging up every hole I can find around my windows and doors and didn’t even think to make sure the furnace was optimized for winter. Programmable thermostat ordered and calling the furnace guy to set up an appointment when the rest of the world wakes up. Great winterization guide, thanks!


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