Winter Home Survival Tips

With the colder months here many Canadians are looking for ways to save money on the rising cost of heating their homes. In addition, this is also the time of year when homeowners may want to take a look at some unwanted visitors who can do some real damage to areas of the home you may never see.

Winter Home Survival Tips:

Sealing and Insulating Your Home: If you add up all the cracks and gaps, the area would be approximately three square feet! Just imagine the amount of cold air that can come in through those spaces and of course the amount of warm air that can sneak out.

Attic Insulation: One of the most common and effective ways of saving heat is by making sure you have enough insulation. If you’re not sure, go in your attic and see if the ceiling joists are visible. If they are, you need more.

Sealing Up Cracks: Cracks around windows, on perimeter walls and at electrical outlets that are located on an exterior wall can create a tremendous leak of warm air out and cold air in. Caulk any gaps and seal up cracks and holes to provide a more airtight envelope around your home.

Inefficient Windows: A terrific interim solution is to install window insulation kits that contain plastic sheeting to cover the window. They are very easy to install, can completely insulate the window.

Unwanted Guests: In the summer the unwanted guests include insects while in the winter it’s rodents, but all year long the worst uninvited guests are termites. This is an excellent time of year to have an annual termite inspection to make sure that, if any termites are present, they are eliminated COMPLETELY.

Here are some tips on how to prevent your pipes from freezing, and some tips on how to thaw them out safely if they do.

Insulate Pipes: Insulate hot and cold water pipes in the crawlspace under your house as well as in the basement, attic, and exterior walls (if accessible) with snap-on foam insulation.

Heat Pipes: Consider wrapping problem pipes with approved heat tape that has a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating.

Sprinkler System: Turn off your sprinkler system, and blow compressed air through the irrigation lines to drain the water.

Drip Faucets: Drip both hot and cold water at faucets in kitchen and bathroom. This not only keeps water moving through the pipes, but relieves built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze.

Laundry Room: If there isn’t a faucet in the laundry room to drip, set your washing machine on warm, and start the fill cycle periodically for a few minutes to run water through the pipes.

Garage: Keep garage door closed during extreme cold weather.

Foundation: For houses that have a crawlspace, make sure the foundation is completely enclosed, and fill any gaps in foundation walls with caulking or expanding foam. Close or cover the foundation vents under house during extreme cold weather.

Basement: Close and weather strip exterior basement windows and doors.

Garden Hose: Disconnect and drain garden hoses.

Exterior Faucets: To protect exterior faucet around your foundation, either cover faucets with insulated foam covers, cut off water to exterior faucets and open faucets to drain pipes, or install exterior faucets that cut water supply off inside foundation walls.

Check for Leaks: Once the weather has warmed up, turn off any dripping faucets as well as the icemaker, then monitor the water meter for any unseen leaks.

Tips to lower your heating cost:

Have Furnace Serviced: Having the heating system serviced and changing the filter regularly will ensure the system is operating as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.

Lower Temperature at Thermostat: Every degree you lower the temperature in your home will save 2% to 3% on your total heating bill. You can adjust the temperature on your thermostat manually or install a programmable thermostat to do it automatically.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan: Reverse ceiling fans so they turn clockwise and run on low to circulate the warmer air that rises to the upper areas of your rooms. Recycling this air will make your rooms more comfortable.

Lower Water Heater Temperature: Your water heater works 24 hours a day to provide you with hot water when needed. Lowering the temperature setting on your hot water heater will make it run less, saving you money.

*by Todays Home Owner