Preparing Your Home for Cooler Months

It’s hard to call it winterizing your home when you live in a climate like San Diego’s. Nevertheless, winterizing your home can save your household significant amounts of money each year on heating costs, and in the long term on home maintenance and repairs. Further, upgrading your home’s heating and cooling components will keep your home warmer for less money, while regularly maintaining these systems will help them last longer and run better in the long haul.

There are plenty of ways a household can stay warm and save money on heating costs at the same time. Some ideas can be instigated today, while others take a significant investment that’s meant to lower your monthly bills, add value to your home, and pay off over time. But even if you don’t have money to put back into your home right now, you can start saving with a few simple and inexpensive solutions.

Short-Term Solutions for Winterizing the Home
These are mostly the quick and easy winter-prep tasks you should do each fall when the nights start to get extra chilly, but a few one-time winterizing tasks that won’t cost you much time or money are included here as well. Every homeowner should try to practice these easy tips to help save money and energy.

  • Close off unused rooms: One easy trick is closing doors to rooms not in use, and turning off heat sources in these rooms as long as the temperatures stay above freezing.
  • Insulate outlets and weatherstrip doors: A quick and economical fix in older homes is to seal off areas where cold air leaks in from walls around the home’s exterior. All electrical outlets on exterior walls should be insulated with foam outlet covers, and covering the ones on other walls may help too. To weatherstrip doors effectively, do the work in the evening after it has gotten dark out. This way you can use a flashlight to see which sections of the door are leaking air by shining it around the edges from the outside. You’ll need two people to use this trick.
  • Insulate the hot water heater: A hot water heater cozy can be used to insulate hot water heaters in older homes that may be located in unheated rooms. The insulating cozies help hot water heaters retain a lot more heat so it takes less time and energy to keep it hot.
  • Furnace and ventilation repair and maintenance: Heating systems not working optimally require more energy to heat the home and over tax the system in the long run, causing higher monthly bills and more extensive and costly repairs. Regularly maintaining your heating system saves money each winter. Air filters in heating systems should be removed and cleaned at the start of each winter to keep the system efficient, for example.

Long-Term Winterizing Solutions
These home-improvement projects require a bigger initial investment that’s meant to pay off in an even bigger way over time. Some are more economical fixes, while others, like converting to solar, can significantly increase the value and sale potential of your home.

  • Install ceiling fans: All homes with vaulted ceilings should have these, and homes with higher ceilings can benefit from them too in both winter and summer, as ceiling fans improve circulation and can be set to push hot air down or up.
  • Replace windows: Old, single-pane windows are the biggest culprit of heat loss in older homes. They can be expensive to replace, so consider a home equity loan or only replacing the windows in the most heavily-used rooms if you’re on a budget, as this is a fairly important fix that will improve cooling in summer, too.
  • Convert or replace your heating system: Certain systems work better in some types of homes than others, and it’s possible that your home doesn’t have the optimal heating or cooling system for its layout or the way it’s built. A professional HVAC evaluation can give homeowners guidance and insight into optimizing and/or replacing their home’s heating system. This includes replacing inefficient heating systems such as electric heat with modern energy-saving systems such as solar.

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