The weather gurus at The Old Farmer’s Almanac are predicting that this winter we will receive another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall. Well, if that doesn’t get you all excited for winter, I don’t know what will! Sarcasm aside, it’s time to actually prepare for this onslaught rather than just cross our fingers and tell ourselves that everyone’s exaggerating. That’s what this California girl did last year and I won’t be making the same mistake again. Reston winters are no joke!
We, at Modern Reston, decided it was prudent to put together a short list of easy-to-implement and budget-friendly ways to winterize your home. These small but significant changes will save you money and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
5 WAYS TO PREP YOUR HOME FOR WINTER
1. Clean Your Gutters
The last of the leaves have fallen so now is the time to break out the ladder and clear your gutters. This simple act will prevent the formation of dangerous icicles and ice dams. These nuisances can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up into your house — cleaning them is definitely worth the trouble.
2. Replace Furnace Filters
This cheap little fix is the key to keeping energy costs down. When a filter is clogged the furnace has to work harder to heat your home, thus raising your energy bill. The Department of Energy says the average household spends about $2,200 a year on its energy bill. They advise consistently changing your air filter to save from 5-15% on your utility costs. Plus, your home will be warmer quicker!
3. Window Insulation Film
Ok, I initially balked at this one. The thought of covering my windows with a clear plastic film reminded me of a bad tint job on a Trans Am in the 80s. But after researching and reading reviews I have been assured that when properly installed, window plastic is essentially invisible. For just a few dollars, these window insulation kits add a buffer against drafts and boost your home’s ability to hold heat. And don’t forget those skylights, it’s like putting a hat on your house.
4. Draft Stoppers
A draft stopper can be as simple as a rolled up towel or blanket, placed along the bottom of doors and windows to slow heat loss. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts sap home energy use by 5-30%. Draft Stoppers come in an array of colors and can be filled with scented or unscented balsam. This simple, old-fashioned solution will make rooms more comfortable and save you money in the long run. (Tip: A tube of caulk can also work wonders on leaks around frames and sills.)
5. Reverse Ceiling Fans
This is genius. I am not sure why I didn’t think of this sooner. The regular rotation of a ceiling fan (counterclockwise) produces cooling breezes while reversing to clockwise makes it warmer. Heat rises, so air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space — which, according to Better Homes and Gardens, will cut your heating costs as much as 10%. This is especially smart for those living in old houses without rooftop insulation.
There you have it. Five simple fixes to keep you warm and toasty this winter. Because we’d all rather be mixing holiday cocktails and entertaining friends than repairing a broken gutter.
Oh, and while you’re at it, be sure to stock up on snow removal equipment/gear and salt now. Home Depot and Target will sell out in the rush before a big storm.