Winter preparations for your home
With fall officially here, winter is just around the corner! While California might not experience the same dramatic shifts in temperatures as other parts of the country, it’s still important to make sure your home is ready for winter. The following winter preparations can help protect your home – and even lower utility bills – this winter.
1. Install weather stripping. Gaps and spaces around doors, windows, and vents can allow heated or cooled air to leak out of your home, affecting the air temperature in your home and raising utility bills as the HVAC system overcompensates. Using an infrared thermal gun – or its low-tech cousin, the lit candle – check for cold drafts around your home’s exterior. Inexpensive foam or felt weather stripping can be used to block gaps and prevent air leakage.
2. Tune up your heater. If you use a furnace or heater in the winter to keep your home warm, have it inspected before winter arrives. For as little as $80-$100, a technician can inspect your heater to ensure it is clean, operating efficiently, and not leaking carbon monoxide. Preventative maintenance for your heater can help ensure your family is not out in the cold if the system breaks mid-season.
3. Reverse ceiling fans. While ceiling fans should rotate in a counterclockwise direction during the summer to pull up cold air, they should be reversed in fall and winter. Running the fan in a clockwise direction pulls warm air down. This is particularly effective in rooms with high or vaulted ceilings, and can even allow you to adjust the thermostat down by a few degrees.
4. Clean the gutters. Falling leaves, twigs, blowing trash, and even frisbees and balls can all cause gutters to become clogged. Cleaning gutters can prevent water from backing up and damaging roofing materials and siding. If your gutters are prone to clogs, or you live in a heavily wooded area, consider a more permanent solution like gutter covers or shields.
5. Utilize window coverings. When the sun sets early and rises late, it can be tempting to let as much light in your home as possible. Unfortunately, leaving windows uncovered can cause heat loss. Drawing blinds, shades, and curtains, particularly at night, not only gives you more privacy but also prevents heat loss. This tip is equally important during the summer months to prevent your home from overheating.