10 Ways to Winterize Your Columbus Home
Don’t Be Left Out in the Cold! Columbus's snow, ice, and cold weather can cause damage to your home. Here's how to make sure your house is prepared for Winter.
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We all know what to expect from winter in Columbus: it will be cold, there will be snow, and we can definitely expect ice. These forces can do some real damage to your home if it’s not protected right, on the inside and the outside. Take these tips from the pros who are in the business, and make it a point to defend your home from the winter weather. Your house--, and your wallet--, will thank you in the Spring!
1. Change Your Furnace Filters
Make a note on your calendar to replace your furnace filter monthly
Often overlooked, this a great way to improve the efficiency of your heater. No one wants a clogged filter, which can not only waste your money but pose a danger to your home and heater.
If not changed regularly, heavily soiled filters cause the furnace to work extra hard to push warm air through. This significantly reduces not only efficiency, but the lifetime of the unit. And no one wants to breathe in all the dust and particles caught by the filter, especially if someone in your home has health issues. They are also easy to change, especially if you make a note to do so. Some newer thermostats have a built in reminder for this, so in case you forget, it lets you know.
2. Turn Down the Water Heater
Who doesn’t enjoy a nice hot shower in the cold Columbus winter? But just be aware, you’ll be paying for it!
At first a luxury, and now a necessity, the cost of hot water bathing can seriously add up, especially during the long winter. It can cost even more to homeowners with families! But by turning down your water heater to 120 degrees, families can expect to save 6-10% on their water heating bill. If it’s time for a new, more efficient water heater, be sure to take advantage of the tax credits available with this appliance.
3. Keep Drafts at Bay
One of the biggest culprits for drafty homes is often overlooked:, the front door! And of course the back door, and any side doors as well.
You can fight the cold air leaking in with a very low tech solution. Draft stoppers are easy to find (or even make one yourself!) and fit with any decor. Another simple solution is a draft dodger, which instead of laying against the inside of the door, slips under the door for even more protection from the cold. Don’t forget to seal those attic and basement doors too--, they can be a major cold air culprit as well.
4. Storm Doors and Windows
We all know that doors and windows let in the most cold air and are the number one reason Columbus homes hike up the thermostat. In addition to adding a draft stopper, make sure you get your home storm windows, or even a storm door.
These windows or doors attach to the outside of the frame, protecting the window or door from the harsh winter elements, and create another barrier to stop cold air. Taking the time to get these out of your attic or basement before every winter will be well worth the trouble when you see a noticeable decrease in your monthly heating bill. Storm windows and doors not only reduce the airflow in your home, they also have the added benefit of reducing outside noise as well-- howling wind (and dogs) included!
5. Low Tech Window Insulation (plastic shrink-wrap)
Even with all the cost savings and increased efficiency that storm windows and doors can add to your home, if you’d rather go low-tech, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware store.
This is a super easy way to keep drafts down, and all you need to do is apply the double sided tape, add the shrink-wrap and the use a blow dryer to make the seal. It’s that easy! This works as long as you don’t intend to use or open the window until the spring, when the wrap can be removed. Shouldn’t be a problem in Columbus!
6. Caulking and Weatherstripping
A step up from a plastic insulation kit, caulking and weatherstripping your windows is a fantastic way to give your windows added protection from leaks this winter.
To caulk them, make sure to scrape off any old caulking on the outside perimeter of the window and add a fresh layer of caulking to seal the small crevices between the frame and the siding. There are a couple different types of weatherstripping you can try, depending on the shape and style of your windows:
- Foam - These are a great way to get into the small cracks that are inevitable
- Rubber gasket - Instead of a dense foam, this type of weatherstripping is a tube that conforms into the space between the window and the frame
- Spring V-seal - Polypropylene strip that gets its name from its V shape and is either adhered or nailed around the window
- Felt - Inexpensive method to seal your windows and uses compression to seal the perimeter of the window
7. Insulate Those Pipes
Columbus winters can be long and cold, and insulating pipes against freezing weather is always a good idea. No one wants to risk a pipe bursting, and since pre-slit pipe foam is readily available, this is a great way to make sure your pipes are protected.
Another benefit of keeping your pipes insulated, is that it can raise the water temperature of your home 2-4 degrees. This will allow you to lower your overall household water temperature in your water heater, saving you money. In addition, because it takes less time for the hot water to come out of the faucet, it will help your house conserve water as well.
8. Get a Furnace Tune-Up
In order to keep your furnace running at its highest efficiency and pushing out the most heat it can to keep your house warm, be sure to schedule a yearly tune-up. If you’re handy, this can also be a yearly DIY project:
- Inspect the area and make sure there is no soot or debris laying in the area. Turn the flame on and ensure that that it is a steady, blue flame.
- Clean up any dust that might have accumulated over the year and wipe down surfaces and blades of the fan so that they are free of dust and debris as well
- Repair/Replace any items, including the belt, that seem worn or have any evidence of cracks or tears
Just call in a professional every couple of years just to make sure everything is in good order.
Long, cold winters can put a lot of strain on furnaces, and skipping this important step can lead to an emergency repair call down the road. Keeping a regular schedule will ensure that if there are any problems, which could be costly in the future, they are caught and dealt with early.
9. Keep Your Thermostat in Check and Layer Up!
One super simple way to winterize your home is to turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater!
During the work week, most people are away from their homes for over 8 hours. That’s a large chunk of time where no one is home and the house does not need to be heated to the usual amount. Before leaving for work, manually turn down the thermostat or pick up a programmable one and set a schedule that can be repeated each day.
Don’t rule out layering up as well! Put on a sweater and grab a blanket if you have a chill instead of reaching for the thermostat while you’re at home. You would be surprised at how much you can save.
10. Energy Efficient Appliances/Tax Breaks
Before winter sets in, evaluate whether investing in newer, more energy efficient appliances would better suit your needs and your budget.
Operating an old furnace-- even one that’s been well maintained-- can still be more costly in the long run than investing in a new one.
The government continues to offer tax breaks to people who opt to replace their older water heaters insulation, windows, doors, furnaces, ventilation and air conditioning units.
By using these tried and true methods to prepare your Columbus home for winter you’ll not only save money on heating costs, you’ll be keeping your appliances well maintained and extend their lifetimes. Don’t let the cold weather deter you from preparing to sell your home. Even in the wintry weather season, HER, REALTORS® can help your sell-- or find-- your dream home in Columbus