The bad news is, Winter heating costs can take a large bite out of your budget. The good news is, you can actually lower your heating bills and keep your family warmer at the same time just by following a few simple steps.
The first step is to perform a thorough evaluation of your home. Start by inspecting the windows and the doors. Start in the attic of your home and work your way down to the basement. Windows and doors are main sources of cold air entering into your home. Check every opening for cracks or broken glass; replace broken window glass.
Also, inspect each window and door for openings around the frames where cold, Winter air can enter into your house. You can easily fill any cracks or small openings with weatherproof caulking. Caulking is available at your local hardware store or home improvement center. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the tubes in order to achieve the best results.
Then, check the windows to make sure they fit tightly in their frames. When the windows of your house are closed, they should provide an airtight seal. If they don’t, you can buy foam weather stripping at your local hardware or home improvement center too. Follow the manufacturer’s directions; but, basically, you measure, cut, remove the protective paper, and press the foam stripping into place. There’s adhesive on one side of the foam that will hold it properly in place.
You can also purchase weather stripping kits that are applied around the frames of your doors.
Plus, if your outer doors don’t already have them, you can purchase draft stoppers. These plastic and metal strips are screwed onto the bottoms of the doors. They effectively help to keep bugs, insects, and cold air drafts out of your home.
Another option for covering cold, drafty windows is to install sheets of clear plastic on them. This is an affordable, yet effective way to keep the Winter cold outside. Yet, you can still see the world outside through the clear plastic.
There are inexpensive kits available for this purpose too. All it takes to cover a window is one kit, a pair of scissors, and about 5 minutes of your time. Most kits include two-sided tape and plastic. You place the tape around the perimeter of your window. Then, you stretch the plastic over the window glass and press it into place onto the tape. Finally, trim the excess plastic with the pair of scissors, and, Voila! Your window is now winterized! But, don’t worry. The plastic and the two sided tape both come off fairly easy in the Spring when the weather warms up again.
The next step is to hire a professional to prepare your heating system for Winter usage. This service should include cleaning and lubricating your furnace and making sure that it’s running as efficiently as possible. Have him check your chimneys too. Make sure they are clean and in good repair. And, if your home uses forced air heating, don’t forget a quick check of your heating ducts to make sure they are properly connected together.
Will these two steps actually save you money? Consider this example: In 2004, Ohio had one of the coldest Winters in its history. After a fierce Winter storm dumped record-setting snowfall on the state in December, Arctic air came in behind it. The rest of the season was marked by additional snow storms, ice, and cold snaps that kept Ohio in a state of deep freeze.
During this time, a close friend of mine had a family, a 3 bedroom ranch home, and an old, cantankerous gas furnace. The furnace decided to make 2004 its last year of heating my friend’s home. Unable to replace the extinct dinosaur that same Winter, my friend winterized his home by following the above steps. He then purchased two portable, electric heaters. Those heaters, in conjunction with the clear plastic and the weather stripping, kept his home toasty warm until the Spring thawed Ohio out once again. I can attest to this statement because I visited his comfortable home on several occasions during this time.