9 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter
#1: Prep the Plumbing
The last thing you want is your pipe’s bursting on a cold night. Avoid costly damages and time dealing with repairmen by locating all of your uninsulated spaces like your attic and outside walls. The best preventative measure against freezing pipes is to make sure they are properly insulated.
For exterior faucets, be sure to turn off the water supply from inside the house. Disconnect your garden hoses and drain them if you store them in a shed or a garage. Finally, drain the remaining water opening up the exterior faucet.
#2: Use Window Coverings
Curtains, blinds, and shades can keep your house warmer longer this winter while lowering your heating bills. How? Let the free sunlight heat your house during the day and close your window coverings at night to maximize your house’s potential heat retention.
The Department of Energy says that smart management of window coverings can reduce heat gain by up to 77 percent.
#3: Keep garage doors closed
Larger than all of your doors and windows, your garage doors are a place where bad things can happen if left wide open. Heat loss through open garage doors can cost you a lot of money. It is wise to keep the garage doors closed to trap the heat while also preventing birds, raccoons, mice, and other small animals from foraging for food or to taking up residence. Open garage doors also increase your chances of being burglarized. You probably store expensive items in your garage (i.e. lawnmower, snow blower, weed whacker, etc…). These items are not cheap to replace.
#4 Seal Your Air Leaks
You are paying for that heat so don’t let the warm air escape out of drafty doors and windows. Inspect your doors and windows for gaps that may cause a draft. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up each opening. For the do-it-yourselfers, purchase and install a window insulator kit. This traps air between the film and the window turning the air itself into an insulator. If you have them, install storm windows and doors. These options can reduce potential entry points for cold air gain and heat loss.
We loved the show “This Old House” and they have a great list and video that goes into more detail to combat air leaks. In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to save money and stay warm by plugging up energy-wasting gaps, holes and cracks. Learn how to seal windows and doors for winter in the steps below.
8 Steps to Stop Wall, Door, and Window Air Leaks:
- Install a door sweep along the bottom of exterior doors to block out cold air.
- Seal gaps between the door and side jambs with long pieces of weather stripping.
- Always engage the sash locks on double-hung widows to close the gap along the meeting rail. Consider installing two sash locks on wide windows.
- Stick a continuous length of adhesive-backed foam weather stripping to the top edge of the upper sash on double-hung windows. The soft foam will compress to fill air-leaking gaps.
- Use foam-rubber backer rod to fill large gaps where the lower sash meets the sill. Force the backer rod into the space between the sash and stool.
- For windows that you won’t open until spring, seal them shut with temporary caulking, which you can press into place, and easily peel off when winter is over.
- To block cold air from blowing in around an electrical outlet, remove the cover plate and press a soft-rubber gasket over the outlet. Replace the cover plate.
- Use minimal-expanding foam to fill holes and gaps around all wall penetrations, including holes for cables, vents and pipes.
#5: Check Your Heating System
It’s wise to have your heating system inspected by a heating specialist each fall. We can help catch problems before expensive breakdowns, increase its efficiency, and prolong the life of your system. Scheduling your service early when there is no stress is better than scrambling for repairs when your boiler stops on a cold winter night. Protect your family now and schedule a tune-up with a reputable heating company. Hillside would be happy to protect you with our annual heating maintenance plan.
If your furnace is not working, you can trust Hillside for new furnace sales & installation. We’ll guide you through the sales and installation process. We’ll help you choose the best new heating system for your heating needs. Our heating systems are built for efficiency and performance delivering dependable warmth at a budget-friendly price!
Tank-Guard and Oil Tank Replacement Warranty
The TANK-GUARD® Program is a corrosion protection and warranty service for basement and aboveground fuel oil tanks up to 330 gallons capacity. With this program, we offer our customers an effective chemical corrosion inhibitor plus the security of our “peace-of-mind” tank replacement warranty.
#6: Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Did you know that most ceiling fans have reverse switches? You’ll notice most ceiling fans can turn clockwise or counterclockwise. In the winter you want it to turn clockwise. Why? Warm air rises. If you fan is spinning clockwise, it will create an updraft that pushes warm air around the room without creating a wind chill.
#7: Budget Billing
A monthly budget plan is an effective way to avoid large peak season bills. Monthly budget payments allow customers to spread their heating expenses throughout the year. The calculation of a customer’s monthly budget is straightforward and simple. Hillside uses estimated annual expenditures and divides that amount into equal monthly payments. The budget amount may be adjusted up or down as many times as needed throughout the season depending on price and weather.
Budget billing is subject to credit approval.
#8: Set the perfect temperatures on your thermostat
A programmable thermostat can save up to $180 a year on fuel costs, according to EnergyStar. Resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically by installing a programmable thermostat. So what temperature should I set my thermostat to for the winter?
There is no perfect winter interior temperature for every home or a perfect temperature for every moment in you home. Here are some general recommendations for winter thermostat settings:
- If someone is at home in the daytime, 72° F (22° C) is a good start, but aim for 69° F.
- If everyone is away from home in the daytime, or you’re asleep at night, 66° F to 62° F is best.
Please feel free to use these guidelines but determine the perfect winter indoor temperature your family’s desired comfort against the price you’re willing to pay for your winter heating bills.
Employing the strategies above can help you find that comfortable winter thermostat setting, one that doesn’t depend completely on your furnace and its associated expenses.
#9: Automatic Fuel Delivery
Automatic delivery is available for customers who never want to worry about the level of fuel in their tank. Hillside uses a computer-run mathematical formula to know when a customer is in need of an oil delivery. The formula uses all past history of customer deliveries in combination with local weather to forecast when deliveries are needed. New accounts are based on average of similar size homes in your area. The homeowner should assist in scheduling of the first delivery. Heating oil deliveries may not be made if the account has an outstanding balance, or if there is an unsafe condition due to fill, vent or tank issues. Would you like to know how automatic deliveries are calculated? The degree-day system is the industry standard for calculating when deliveries are made. This link, www.weatherdatadepot.com, will help you understand how the degree-day system works, projecting when you may need deliveries and comparing seasons from past years to track your personal fuel oil consumption.