Baby, It’s Cold Outside – But Warm and Dry at Home
Some people love winter, can’t wait to bundle up in layers of clothes and dream of sipping hot chocolate by the fire nestled under a favorite afghan. While others dread the cold weather months, counting the days until they can throw open their windows and bask in sunshine. No matter which of those categories you may fall into, most of us can agree that we all like to save money and be comfortable in our home when temperatures drop. By doing a little home maintenance and making a few simple preparations, you can achieve both of those goals. Here are some easy ways you can winterize your home.
Install a Storm Door or Steel Front Door
Your front door is much more than just your home’s first impression, they can be your first line of defense against the elements. Thanks to foam insulation, steel doors are more energy efficient than wooden or fiberglass doors, meaning lower energy bills.
They’re sturdy and weather-resistant, and they offer better security against break-ins than other less dense types of doors. Think about it: it would be pretty tough for a burglar to discreetly break down a steel door. In addition to blocking air from getting in and out, seals on steel doors can also help block outside noise, such as traffic sounds or lawn equipment.
Like steel doors, storm doors provide more protection from weather elements and prevent air leaks buy adding an extra layer of defense. There are all kinds of storm doors to choose from, though the U.S. Department of Energy advises against glass ones in some cases. “Never add a glass storm door if the exterior door gets more than a few hours of direct sun each day,” the Department of Energy’s website says. “The glass will trap heat against the entry door and could damage it.”
Caulk (or Re-Caulk) Your Windows
Drafty windows mean cold air is coming into your home and can lead to higher energy bills. But replacing all your windows with storm windows is a major expense. A cheaper alternative to replacing your windows is proper caulking. There is a right way, and a wrong way to apply caulk. We suggest reviewing this guide to proper caulking before you begin the project.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Ah, technology. What would we do without it? With tools like programmable thermostats, you don’t even have to get out of bed in the morning to turn the heat up.
In fact, you can pre-schedule what you want the exact temperature at home to be for every hour of the day. By pre-scheduling your thermostat, you also don’t have to worry about forgetting to lower it when you leave home for a while.
“You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting,” according to the Department of Energy. “The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates. You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home.”
There are even “smart” thermostats on the market these days, such as Nest, that allow you to use a smartphone app to change the temperature at your house, when you are out on-the-go.
Add New Insulation
Making sure your home is properly insulated can go a long way. If you add insulation to attics, floors and crawlspaces, you can reduce unwanted air leaks and save significantly on your heating bills.
You can add more insulation yourself or hire a home energy audit professional to evaluate your house and do the work. Homeowners can also follow Energy Star’s suggested insulation levels that match their climate and area.
Don’t Forget About Freezing Water
Freezing water can burst pipes and damage roofing. Insulate exposed pipes to prevent damage and address loose or missing shingles so that water can drain properly. And if you see water dripping or pooling around your home, investigate. Taking action early before any damage happens will save you time and money in the long run.
Also, consider trimming overhanging tree branches on roofs. When wet, the water’s extra weight can cause the branch to break, possibly hitting your roof, a window or even a power line.
At PrimeLending, our streamlined process also saves you energy by helping to make home loans simple. Contact a loan officer in your area to learn more about our home loan options for every season.