EVERYDAY HOME  |  11.1.18  |  by Terra Wellington

Fall weekends are easily eaten up with household chores, kids’ sports, and dance classes.  It’s hard to find time for the adults to recoup, let alone have a special project.  However, if where you live will get below freezing during the winter, then now is the best to take the time to winterize your home so that you can not only protect your home investment but also save money.  While there are many winterizing things you could put on your list, if you’re looking to bang out five fast-and-easy ones, here’s the one-hour version of winterizing your home — or at least getting a start on it with ways to winterize your home.

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Blanket the Water Heater

Pull out the insulation blanket for your water heater and wrap it around the heater.  If you have never done this, Energy.gov has a great tutorial.  If you have a newer water heater, you may not even need to take this “blanket” step.  Here’s more from Energy.gov —

Just like insulating your walls or roof, insulating your hot water tank is an easy and inexpensive way to improve energy efficiency and save you money each month. If your water tank is new, it is likely already insulated. If you have an older hot water tank, check to see if it has insulation with an R-value of at least 24. If not, consider insulating your water tank, which could reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45% and save you about 4%–9% in water heating costs—and should pay for itself in about a year.

Change Ceiling Fan Direction

Change the direction your ceiling fan rotates — by having it rotate in a clockwise direction, it will push hot air from the ceiling to the floor.  This can help circulate more hot air around the room, and you can set your thermostat lower while still feeling warm.

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Install Window Insulation Film

For your least protected windows, install insulating window film to provide a more airtight seal on your windows — keeping the heat in and the cold out.  In the spring, you remove the film.

You don’t have to insulate all your windows in one day, as this would take several hours.  However, you can insulate 1-2 windows over several weekends, taking only 15 minutes at a time.

You can also be selective about which windows to insulate.  For example, if some windows are more protected from cold winter wind by evergreen trees, then perhaps those windows are not a priority.  Or maybe some windows or door glass panes are older, and those could receive your time for installing window insulation film.

Update Weather Stripping

Look at your exterior doors and determine if the weatherstripping is cracked, missing, or flattened down.  It is very easy to replace.  You just pull out the old weatherstripping, usually installed in the door casing’s crease or simply pulled away from the door’s casing (if it is a self-adhesive kind).  And then you have two main types of weatherstripping to re-install: 1) either the easy compression kind that takes literally 3 minutes to install directly into the casing’s grove or 2) a self-adhesive foam strip that runs around the casing, also easy to install.

Lower Your Thermostat

See if you can lower your thermostat by one degree this winter to save energy and money — stocking up on sweaters and slippers can make this easy.

Or, at the very least, take the time to program your thermostat to significantly lower your temperature when you are not usually home, pre-programming it to bump up to a more comfortable temperature an hour before you are expected home.  This tactic is especially cost saving for families who are not home during the day — there’s no reason to be heating a house with no one in it.

Happy winterizing!

This post is an update from the original on 10/22/15.