In 2019, the average household in the US had a monthly electricity bill amounting to $115.49. Hawaii residents paid the most, as they had an average bill of almost $170 a month. On the other hand, folks in Utah rejoiced as they shelled out only $75 per month.
Winter, however, always brings higher energy bills, and that goes for everyone in the US. After all, the use of home heating equipment accounts for over 40% of a home’s energy consumption.
That’s why you should start your home’s winter prep as early as now. By preparing your home for winter, you can make it cozier without relying too much on heating energy.
To that end, we’ve curated this guide listing the top home preparations for winter. Read on to learn what you can do to stay warm and toasty without burning a hole in your pockets.
Seal Air Leaks
One of the easiest winter home preparation tips is to seal as many air leaks as you can. In doing so, you can save up to 40% on your energy bills.
More than that, stopping these air leakages can make the inside of your home warmer in the winter. After all, wintry outdoor air can get in through holes, cracks, or gaps.
If you want to save money, caulking and weatherstripping are two easy peasy DIY projects you can take on. Caulking is for closing up the openings and cracks around your window frames and doors. Weatherstripping is for sealing the movable components of your windows and doors.
For example, you can apply caulk on the base of windows and around the window panes’ edges. You can also use this waterproof filler to create a tighter seal around door frames.
As for weatherstripping, you can place these on the upper and bottom sashes of windows. If your windows open sideways, you can apply the sealing materials on their exposed edges. You can also weatherstrip the outer edges of doors (especially the bottom).
Keep Your Water Pipes Warm and Toasty
Indoor flooding doesn’t only occur due to bad weather; burst pipes can also flood your home. Plumbing components, in turn, can rupture when the water they carry freezes.
When this happens, the ice can expand to the point that your pipes can no longer take the pressure. Scientists say that water molecules get bigger when they freeze, so they take up more space. This is also why glass bottles end up broken in your freezer.
In the case of plumbing pipes, the more water that freezes, the more force that builds up within. Over time, your pipes will no longer be able to contain all that pressure, so they can crack or collapse. As a result, free-flowing water will gush out of the damaged pipes.
So, preparing your home for winter should also include insulating exposed water pipes. You can have your local plumbing expert do this for you, or you can simply get pipe sleeves from a hardware store. You can then slip, slide, or wrap these over your water pipes.
Get Your Drains Cleaned and Cleared
Speaking of plumbing pipes, have your waste pipes jetted and cleaned before winter. This way, your plumber can get rid of existing build-up, especially FOG (fats, oils, and grease). FOG congeals quickly and at a higher temp than water, so they can cause more clogs once the snow starts to fall.
Update Your Extremely Old Windows
A 2017 report found that 48.5 million US homes still have single-pane windows. If yours is one of these, it may be time to get them upgraded to double-glazed panes. This is especially true if your windows are so old that they have so many scratches or cracks on them.
Replacement windows cost a lot, though, so be sure to check estimated home window prices first. If you’re on a tight budget, you can focus on replacing those that are in the worst state. You can then use high-quality window films as an alternative for your other windows.
You can also patch up some of your old windows with bubble or cling wrap. According to UMass, this can help cut heat gains/losses by up to 50%.
The Heavier, the Better
Another of the simplest winter preparation tips is to hang up thicker curtains. Fabrics like velvet, denim, suede, or tapestry are all excellent choices. These have tighter knits or weaves, so they’re better insulators than cotton or lace.
However, you need to make sure that the curtains extend several inches over the sides of your windows. This helps them create a tighter seal around the windows.
Fill the Inside With Greens to Keep the Blues Out
Houseplants can do more than boost indoor air quality: they can also make your home feel warmer. They can do so through the process of transpiration. This occurs whenever they “exhale” water vapor out of their stomata.
So, in the winter, indoor plants can help add some moisture to dry winter air. Moist air, in turn, can hold heat better, so it can help enhance the warming effects of your heater. As a result, you can adjust your heater’s thermostat slightly to reduce heating costs.
Plus, plants may also help you become more productive, so they’re ideal for in-home offices. Their vibrant color alone is already pleasing to look at, making you feel refreshed. They also help remove carbon dioxide from the air to help you breathe better.
Start Doing Your Home Winter Prep Now
There you have it; the best winter prep hacks that you should do as early as now. The more of these that you implement, the warmer and cozier your home can get. Also, the sooner you carry out these preparations, the sooner you can trim your energy bills.
Ready for more home improvement guides to make your space healthier and more livable? Be sure to check out this list of DIY home improvement projects then!