Get ahead of the cold and prepare your home for this winter so you don’t have any surprises.  The list below provides some quick, easy and inexpensive ways to help eliminate any issues this winter.  Whether you want to tackle them yourself or hire a handyman make sure to get it done before the snow comes.  

Eliminate drafts in doors and windows:

1.    Door Draft Stopper or Draft Snake will help keep the warm in and those cold drafts out.  You can purchase these at most retailers or make your own draft snake with a piece of cloth and rice.  Check out this list of 20 DIY draft stoppers that will keep your home insulated.  Making your own also allows you to customs length, thickness and design to fit any door or window in your house.

2.    Insulate your windows with window insulation film.  This is a kit that you that is fairly inexpensive and can be purchased at your local hardware or discount store.  Don’t be intimidated by this process since window plastic is clear the final product is invisible.

3.    Install storm doors and windows.  This may not be the most fun task however doing so can save a good chunk of money on your energy bill.  So dig out those windows and doors from your storage and install to start saving.  

4.    It may be time to caulk the gaps.  You can check this with a hair dryer and candle.  Have one person blow the hairdryer along the window and another person on the other side of the window with a lit candle.  If the candle flickers or goes out then it’s time to caulk.  Check to see if old caulk jobs need to be touched up to.  This is a quick and easy way to help cut back on your energy bill.  

Control your thermostat:

Turn down your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees while you are away and/or sleeping to help reduce your energy bill.  You have to keep it down for at least 8 hours so that your furnace isn’t over working to change temperatures back and forth.  If you’re like me, I am gone for at least 8 hours at work so this is perfect and a programmable thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature so you don’t have to remember.  

Lower the temp on your water heater:

Lower your water heater’s temperature from 140 degrees down to 120 degrees.  Most homes only need the water heater at 120 degrees so check yours out and see if you can add on the savings.     

Winterize your A/C and water lines:

First, if your A/C has a water shutoff valve you can go ahead and turn it off.  Drain all pipes and get rid of any access water in the unit.  Go ahead and remove any window A/C units and store them to avoid unwanted drafts.  As for your water lines make sure water is completely removed.  You can do this with an air compressor or hire a handyman to do it for you.  

Change the direction of your ceiling fans:

Counter clockwise produces a cool breeze while clockwise produces warmer air.  Run the fan during the winter at a lower speed so you circulate the warm air up and back out into the room without getting a cooling effect.  This will also help cut your heating costs.  

Clean your gutters:

Now is a good time to clean your rain gutters.  Make sure there are no areas that could cause a backup in water flow.  This is important because water can freeze and cause large ice blocks, build up on your roof and cracks in your gutters.  You may have to do this a couple times until all the leaves have fallen off your trees but in the end will make your house look much nicer and you won’t have to worry about any issues this winter.