Summer is over and now it’s that time of year when all Chicagoans start to prepare for the winter. And after last year, no one is forgetting or waiting until the last minute. Winterizing your home is an important process that helps keep you safe and saves you money. These tips about security systems work for renters as well.
Here are five easy tips to help prepare your home this year:
Stop the Draft. Save your family from the winter cold air leaking into your home through drafty windows and doors. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste as much as 30% of your energy use. Some affordable solutions are to purchase a draft snake and window insulation kits to seal in the heat while keeping out the cold. You can also self-install window sensors to a home security system. A more expensive solution is installing storm windows and doors in your home to prevent draft and keep in heat.
Protect Your Pipes. Nothing could ruin your winter like frozen pipes bursting. One way you can prevent this by insulating the pipes in your home, this also helps save money on hot water. The best way is to install a low temperature alarm with your security alarm system. They alert you when an area of your home drops into a risky temperature zone.
Tune-Up Your Furnace. Your furnace is the heart of a warm home and needs to be taken care of to function its best over the years. Don’t forget to change your filter once a month during the winter, try marking a spot on your calendar to help you remember. Also, many utility providers offer free annual tune-ups, keeping them clean, adjusted right and lubricated. Check out Consumer Reports if you are looking to buy a new furnace.
Prepare the Fireplace. If your home has one or more functioning fireplaces take these tips before using them this season. First, check that your chimney is clear of all nests or debris. Then make sure the flue damper is operating correctly and that the chimney draft draw the fire and smoke up properly. If it has been awhile since getting your chimney cleaned, you should call a professional because that is not a fun DIY project. Be sure you get a fire going in the fireplace, make sure you create a family fire safety plan!
Summer Shutdown. As you prepare your home for winter, don’t forget to properly close down everything from the summer. This includes cleaning and covering your condensing unit so it works great for more summers to come. Also, if you have a lawn sprinkler system you will need to get that winterized so none of those pipes freeze and burst.
These five tips will help prepare your home for a safe and warm winter this year so you can rest easy all season long. Get them done this fall and the polar vortex will be no match for your home. Plus, you’ll save some money in the process!