5 Essential (and easy) Tips for Winter Preparedness
Although we’re not officially in Winter yet, there’s plenty of things you can do now that will save you time, money, and headaches in the coming months. Setting aside just a bit of time this weekend to go through this list will ensure you’ll be cozying up by the fire rather scrambling down 25A in the snow looking for help.
Change Your Furnace Filter Each Winter Month
If you’re running your heat from a furnace, you’ll want to ensure that you’re consistently using a clean filter. There’s many benefits to tracking this simple task. Using a clean filter will keep costs down, maintain healthy air quality, and help to extend the life of your heating system. Running with a dirty filter can have a dramatic impact on all of these factors very quickly. In the winter months, you’ll want to change your filter once a month. Instead of potentially forgetting about this important task, take some time this weekend to pick up 4 new filters at your local hardware store. Different units use different filters, so be sure to snap a picture of your current filter on your phone so you know what to look for. Set monthly reminders in your phone to check and swap the filter each month.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Although they may be a bit pricey, investing in a smart thermostat will save you money and give you greater control over your heating system than a traditional thermostat. Smart thermostats can more proactively manage climate, which increases efficiency and lowers the cost of heating. Smart thermostats also can be controlled remotely from outside of your home, enabling you to dynamically manage the climate when you’re away during one of those freaky 70 degree December days. Many smart thermos integrate with devices like Amazon Echo and Siri, enabling you to control the temperature with your voice and from your phone. Our favorite brands are Nest and ecobee.
Test Your Snowblower & Outdoor Equipment
Could you imagine anything worse than getting outside for the first big storm, and your snowblower doesn’t work? Take some time this weekend to pull out your winter equipment and ensure you’re all ready to go. If you end up needing repairs or replacement parts, you’ll be ahead of the game. Demand skyrockets after the first snowstorm and parts can easily be out of stock. Now’s the perfect time to ensure you’re all set by running your snowblower and being certain that it works.
Clean and Maintain Your Gutters
You may not realize it, but unkempt gutters can be one of the most critical and dangerous risks to home safety in the winter. Buildup of debris prevents water from flowing properly. When that mixture of debris and water freezes in the winter, it causes overflow in your gutter which results in the formation of large icicles and weight strain on the gutters themselves. Additionally, clogged gutters will capture and retain runoff from your roof, exacerbating the problems. Aside from these winter related issues, there’s a host of other problems that can arise from clogged gutters. It is surprisingly straightforward to clean your own gutter, and you don’t need to hire a professional. You may need to pick up some inexpensive equipment at a hardware store. This 5 Minute Video from Lowes is a great instructional on cleaning your gutters.
Shore Up Your Windows and Doors Easily and Inexpensively
Windows and doors can be some of the biggest culprits for winter related issues. Escaping home heat will strain your heating system, while simultaneously letting in cold air and moisture. Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to maintain your windows and there’s some low-cost upgrades you can install for winter. Pick up some draft guards for your door. Typically around $10 or $15, draft guards will prevent heat from escaping underneath doors. Similarly, think about picking up a Window Insulation Kit from your local hardware store. Typically around $25, window insulation kids will prevent a considerable amount of heat from leaking through windows. They’re easy to install and will end up saving you money.
Bonus Tip: Set your ceiling fans to move clockwise. This will cause them to push hot air along the ceiling, and ultimately down towards the floor.
Have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below!