by Dave Logan
Coloradoans are no strangers to cold weather. When a winter storm hits, we all bundle up and prepare ourselves for the bitter cold. But do we adequately prepare our homes for this weather?
Our “Top 10” list of easy and effective tips can save you time and money this winter, as well as keep you warm. Before you begin, however, it’s important to do your own home energy audit so you know which energy challenges to prioritize for the year. Or, you can likely get your own trusted professional to perform an audit for you for a few hundred bucks.
- Buy some door sweeps (or draft stoppers) and put them underneath exterior doors to seal the gaps and keep the cold where it belongs: outside. You can pick them up for $10-$20, and they’re easy to install.
- Install a storm door. This can provide a great (and cheap) way to keep your home insulated.
- Buy some “peel and stick” weatherstripping for doors and windows. Insallation is easy: measure the space that needs the weatherstripping and apply! For doors, make sure you apply the weatherstripping all the way around the door jamb. For windows, apply to the bottom of the window where the window meets the sill.
- Replace your windows. Keep in mind that you could be losing better than 20% of your home’s heat through windows. If your windows are old, it may be worth it to replace them with energy efficient ones.
- Insulate all your exposed pipes that carry hot water.
- Make sure your attic is fully insulated; otherwise the heat rising from the living areas in your home will escape. This forces your furnace to work much harder than it should.
- Service your furnace every year. This will improve efficiency and lower your utility costs.
- Replace your furnace filters every couple of months.
- Install a programmable thermostat. They’re inexpensive and allow you to dictate the temperature in your home at different times during the day. This simple effort can yield big savings for your utility costs!
- Pay attention to your utility bills! It’s helpful to know that the efficiency upgrades you’re making are working effectively. The largest energy consumer in your home is the obvious target for improvement.
Use the above as your “winter checklist” if you like. For just a little bit of time and money, you can protect your home in severe weather and ensure that you and your family will be warm and comfortable all winter long. And those are investments that will return positively for years and years to come!