If you live in the northern U.S. you don’t need a news flash to tell you that winter is on the way. Baseball fans in Denver this weekend nodded knowingly when the Rockies-Phillies game was snowed out on Saturday night and Chicagoans were expecting their first snowfall this weekend.
To homeowners, the changing of the seasons (of the colder variety) means battening down the hatches and protecting your household from the elements.
No doubt about it, taking steps to seal your house from Mother Nature’s worst can mean the difference between recording your home budget in black ink rather than red this winter.
Just sealing off the outside air from your home can save up to 30% in energy bills this winter, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
So what’s your move? From a home maintenance point of view, there is no shortage of creative ways to insure that you save money on energy costs, protect the value of your home – and even protect your family’s health. Don’t wait on them – tardiness can cost you if you miss a chance to weather-proof your house this fall.
Now that we’re on the clock, let’s look at some of the best moves homeowners can make while the leaves are still on the trees – and the thermostat is still above 50 degrees.
Clear your gutters. This is a tricky one, because it’s actually best if you wait until after all the leaves have fallen. But when they do, go ahead and clean your gutter, especially if you live in a very leafy neighborhood. Stuffed gutters can back water up, and potentially trigger flooding after heavy rains or snow. Missing this one can really induce sticker shock – cleaning crews can charge $4,000 or more to mop up a flood in a 2,000 square-foot house. DoItYourself.com breaks the process down for you here.
Put your thermostat on the clock. Programmable thermostats are very much in vogue. Busy commuters can set their thermostat to shut off when they’re gone off to work, and kick back on again as they come home again. The thermostats cost only $20 or so and you can install them yourself. Energystar.gov has got the goods here.