There’s no denying it: Winter is on its way.
Winterizing your home can help lower your energy bills, prevent bigger more costly repairs later on, and reduce the risk of accidents like a home heating fire. (Side note: That’s why having the right homeowners insurance can give you peace of mind, too.)
Ready? Let’s walk through the big list of projects to tackle this fall.
FALL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
- Windows and doors: Prevent chilly drafts (and pricey heating bills) by checking and replacing any worn weather stripping, and caulking any cracks. For loose-fitting doors, slide a draft guard or rolled-up towel underneath to fill the gap. For old or drafty windows, consider peel-and-stick window insulation film – it might not be the most elegant look, but it can keep up to 70% of heat from escaping.
Related: A dozen easy ways to keep cold air from entering your house
- Fireplace: Check your fireplace and flue system to remove soot or ashes. Check for cracks that could be a fire hazard. Also, examine the fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be need to be repaired or replaced. If you’re not planning on using your fireplace at all, invest in a chimney balloon to block the opening. (Just remember to take it out before you build a fire next season.) Most importantly, know what fixes are safe for you to tackle and what should be in the hands of a certified chimney sweep with training and proper equipment.
Related: What’s a professional chimney inspection, and why do I need one?
- Furnace: Before you turn up the heat for the season, start by changing (or cleaning) your furnace filter. It’s also a good idea to have an HVAC professional check your furnace once per year. And if you can’t remember the last time you had your heating ducts checked for leaks and efficiency… an HVAC professional can help with that, too.
Related: How often does my furnace filter need changed (and how do I do it?)
- Thermostat: For every degree lower your home’s temperature during the winter, you can save as much as 1 percent on your energy bill (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). If you have an older thermostat, consider replacing it with a smart model to save on heating costs. Many new thermostats have algorithms to learn your comings and goings so you’re not paying to keep your home toasty warm when you’re not around.
Related: 10 energy-saving tips to prepare your home for cold weather
- Other home heating: We know they’re cozy, but be extra cautious when using a space heater. Space heaters cause about one-third of all winter house fires and 80 percent of all winter heating fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Related: Must-know safety tips for fireplaces, space heaters and wood-burning stoves
- Drafts and cracks: Cold air will take advantage of any opportunity to sneak into your home. Here’s a list of quick fixes for drafty places:
- Outlets and switch plates: Use foam-insulating sheets to block cold air coming in from exterior walls.
- Exposed ducts: Check your attic, basement, and crawl spaces and use sealant to plug up any leaks or cracks on exposed ducts.
- Floors: Don’t underestimate the power of a thick, cozy rug. Your floors can account for as much as 10 percent of heat loss in a house.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: While you’re in the process of prepping your house for the long winter, check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in good working order. Also, with the increased risk of fire in winter, it’s important to have a family escape plan. You can create one using the National Fire Prevention Association’s online guide.
Related: How to prevent a dryer fire
Related: How to remove an ice dam
DOES YOUR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE KEEP UP WITH YOUR LIFE?
From weekend projects to major renovations… you’ve worked hard (and invested a lot) to make your house a home. That’s why you deserve homeowners insurance from a company you trust to protect it. Want a customized quote? Talk to your local Miller's Insurance agent in your neighborhood.
This article brought to you by our friends at Erie Insurance. Miller's would like to extend it's gratitude to Erie Insurance for both being a wonderful business ally and for letting us use the articles found on their blog, Eriesense.