House Hacks to Keep Cold Air at Bay
As summer slowly shifts to autumn, cooler days and chilly nights are just around the corner. While this can be a relief after the summer heat, it won’t be as much of a relief when your heating costs start stacking up. Fortunately, it’s possible to prepare in advance to avoid some of the extra costs of winter while still keeping your home comfortable throughout the season. Though there are countless ways to do so and the right options for you will largely depend on your specific home, here are some little things you can do now that will have a big impact on how well your home keeps out the cold air this winter.
Prep for the Cold
The first thing that you should do when trying to get ready for the coming cold is to make sure you’ve blocked off many of the ways that cold air enters the house. There are a lot of potential fixes and preparations you can make, so here are a few suggestions to give you an idea of the sort of things you should do:
- Check the caulking and weatherstripping on your doors and windows, making repairs as needed
- Check the insulation in your attic, replacing any that’s tattered or upgrading all of it to insulation with a higher R value
- Inspect your roof for signs of damage and repair any leaks or damaged shingles
- Look for cracks or other damage in both your windowpanes and the frames of the windows
- Store any window air conditioners or close their vents and cover them with an insulated air conditioner cover
- Cover windows with a layer of thermal plastic on the inside, using a heat gun or hair dryer to shrink the plastic once it’s in place to create the strongest barrier to heat transfer
- Place covers or sheets of wall insulation over crawl space doors and other areas where cold air might get under your house
These preparations should be done alongside any other winter prep that you do, such as applying insulating pipe covers and covering outdoor faucets to prevent possible pipe freezes.
Make Sure Everything Works
Alongside your checks to prevent drafts and leaks during the winter, it’s important to spend a little time to make sure that your home’s heat source will run safely once temperatures drop. Here are a few considerations when it comes to testing your home heating:
- Clean your chimney and have it inspected if you have a fireplace that you plan to use for primary or secondary heating
- Test your heating system to make sure that it functions properly
- Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and ensure that fire extinguishers are charged and within their effective dates
- Make sure that external vents for fuel-burning furnaces or heaters function properly so that they won’t stick or stay closed while in use
This is also a good time to make sure that all of your emergency supplies are in date, all your flashlights work, and that you have at least two ways to receive weather alerts in case there’s a harsh winter.
Get Ready for Winter
There are a few inspections that you should really get done around this time of year as well, before temperatures start to drop significantly. The big ones are your roof and your heating system, though having someone look at limbs that hang over your home or that could present a falling hazard during the winter is a good idea as well.