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Winterize: How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

Your ceiling fan. OK, here’s one you might not have thought of. If you have a ceiling fan, switch it over so that it runs clockwise during the winter (there should be a switch right on the fan). This will force warm air down, recirculating it and keeping you more comfortable during the winter months. Just make sure you switch it back before summer.

Your windows, doors, and other drafts. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 5%-30% of all energy use is wasted by drafts, and much of this is flying out your windows and doors. First, your windows. Replace all screen windows with storm windows, and check around the window casings themselves to make sure there are no gaps that could be letting heat out. Any gaps, crevices, etc. that you find, caulk them up. If any panes of glass are cracked, replace them. To really make your windows secure, consider picking up insulation kits (the kind you use with a hair dryer), or even the sticky putty that you roll out around the windows to block any gaps. If you want to really put a dent in your energy bill, replace all old windows with energy efficient new ones. This isn’t the cheapest way to go, but it will pay for itself sooner than you think.

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On to your doors. Make sure all weatherstripping around your doors is in good shape, and caulk or insulate any gaps. Get draft snakes for the bottom of exterior doors, or you can roll up a few bath towels to cut down on drafts there.

Windows and doors will be your primary sources of drafts, but they aren’t the only culprits. Get a stick of incense or a candle and wander through your house checking for drafts. Any place where a pipe enters or leaves the house is good to check, as are any electrical or light outlets. You can caulk up the former, and get pre-formed insulators/outlet gaskets for the later.

One last tip here: if you have a basement with window wells, get plastic shields to cover them. All of these tips will not only keep you more comfortable this winter (heat in), but will also make it harder for insects and other little beasties to get in to your house (vermin out).

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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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