(BPT) - The freezing temperatures, ice and snow that come with the winter season will be here before you know it. Instead of waiting until a house emergency arises during the cold winter, take time in the fall to start winterization projects.
For most homeowners, winter means colder weather and rising energy bills, too. To help stick to your budget while keeping your home warm and safe this winter, Oncourse Home Solutions developed this checklist to help you get your home winter-ready before the first snowfall.
1. Seal those drafts. Drafty doors and windows allow heat to escape — making your heating bill soar. Check windows, attic, walls and crawlspaces for noticeable drafts. Then add weather stripping, insulation or caulking to problematic areas to prevent the loss of heated air.
2. Keep appliances running like a dream. Winter can put your appliances to the test, especially if they're not properly maintained. Regularly cleaning out dust and debris from large appliances, including your refrigerator, will ensure optimal performance so you don't have to worry about unexpected breakdowns. Oncourse Home Solutions suggests homeowners have a yearly furnace 'tune up' maintenance appointment with a professional to ensure potential problems can be caught early and taken care of before they result in an untimely (and expensive) breakdown.
3. Switch to a smart thermostat. A programmable smart Wi-Fi thermostat allows you to set different temps for different times of day, right from your phone. By lowering the temp when you're out of the house or asleep, you can save a significant amount of energy and money.
4. Embrace natural heat. Blinds, shutters and curtains don't just keep light out; they can help keep heat in, too. Open window treatments during the day, allowing the sun to heat your home naturally. When the sun goes down, close curtains and blinds to trap warmth inside.
5. Check ceiling fan direction. Did you know your ceiling fan can provide both cool and warm air? During the winter, set your ceiling fan blades to spin clockwise. This forces the fan to push warm air back down into your living space. That can help keep your thermostat at a reasonable setting, giving your HVAC system a much-needed break.
6. Let there be LED. Swap old incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient LED bulbs. Not only are they longer-lasting, but they also use significantly less energy. You'll save money while illuminating your home with brighter, more sustainable light.
7. Clear around vents. If certain rooms feel cooler than others, ensure you don't have blocked vents. Rugs, curtains and furniture can block airflow from any vent. When this happens, warm air from your heating system can't reach your family.
8. Check your home's exterior. Even though you may not spend as much time outdoors during winter, it's a great time to check for damage to your home's exterior. Look at your roof, gutters and downspouts to ensure things are in good shape. If you notice missing or damaged shingles, or any gutters or downspouts pulling away from your home, those are issues that need attention immediately. Putting off maintenance and repairs only makes it worse — and hurts your wallet.
9. Be prepared. Plan for the unexpected by keeping an emergency kit stocked with non-perishable food, blankets, flashlights, batteries, drinking water, a fire extinguisher and first aid kit. Placing shovels, salt and snow blowers in an easily accessible location can also help you quickly clear snow and ice from heavily trafficked areas like walkways and driveways.
10. Protect your pipes. Freezing pipes can cause major headaches (and leaks!) during winter. To protect homeowners from unexpected costs, home protection providers like Oncourse Home Solutions have homeowners' backs when it comes to safeguarding their home. Their protection plans offer coverage for pipes and more, so you can rest easy knowing that unexpected damage may be taken care of without breaking the bank.
Remember, these tips are just the start of your winterizing journey. Each home is unique, so always consider partnering with home protection and service providers like Oncourse Home Solutions, formerly operated as Pivotal Home Solutions and American Home Solutions, a leading home protection provider focused on protecting homeowners from unexpected costs, and providing flexible services for home repairs, maintenance and improvement.
With the amount of stress and tasks that naturally come with homeownership, especially during the winter months when bills tend to rise, having a thoughtful partner that provides peace of mind is critical. With a little bit of effort and some smart choices, you can face winter confidently, knowing help is just a call away. Visit OncourseHome.com to learn more.