Winter is around the corner. Although the West Coast doesn’t see the same heavy snowfall or deep-freezing temperatures compared to other provinces in Canada, British Columbia is no stranger to winter. In Port Alberni, our winters involve high amounts of rainfall and strong winds. This kind of weather affects the well-being of your home and your wallet. But with a little preparation in the Autumn months, you can be ready for whatever winter wants to throw your way. We’re here to offer you 8 simple ways you can winterize your home and save money on your heating bill.
#1 Check Your Thermostat Temperature
Your thermostat setting controls the heating of your home. What temperature is your thermostat turned to? Is it too high or low for the current weather? Consider practical ways you can reduce the temperature, like your choice of clothing. Instead of turning up the heat, try wearing warmer, heavier clothing, like a thick woolly sweater. Warmer clothes can allow you to comfortably reduce your thermostat temperature, even up to 4 degrees. A few degrees can greatly reduce your heating costs this winter.
Another practical way to preserve heat and save money is to keep doors to unused spaces, like storage areas and closets, closed. You don’t want your hard-earned heat to escape to parts of the house you don’t frequent regularly.
Another handy resource that can help save heat and money is a digital thermostat. A digital thermostat allows you to program your preferred heating based on the time of day. You can lower the room temperature at night or when you’re away from home. These simple tricks can help you save precious dollars on your winter heating bill while keeping your house cozy and comfortable.
#2 Insulate and Seal Your Windows
One significant way to winterize your home is to ensure that your windows are properly insulated and sealed. Approximately 10-25% of thermal energy can be lost through poorly sealed windows. If you’re paying money to heat your home, you’d like to keep the heat actually inside your house. Test your windows. Are they cold to the touch in chilly weather? If so, then you’re losing precious heat to the cold world outside.
An easy and cost-effective way to battle against inadequate windows is to put up heavy thermal blackout curtains or insulated window shades. These windows coverings are designed to keep the heat in your home, despite a faulty window.
If your windows are properly sealed and feel like room temperature during a touch test, consider keeping them uncovered during the day. Sunlight is a fantastic natural way to heat and light your home and your windows will trap that precious heat inside. Just make sure that you clean your windows before winter arrives. A dirty window will actually reduce the amount of sunlight that can find its way into your home. It’d be a shame to miss out on a natural heating source.
#3 Turn Your Ceiling Fans On Counter Clockwise
We all learned in grade school that heat rises. If you’re paying big dollars to heat your home, you definitely don’t want the warmth to rise and escape out through your roof and ceiling. Make use of your ceiling fans. After ensuring your fans are running counter clockwise, keep them running. The ceiling fans will push that valuable warm air back down to your level. They also will help with air circulation, so the warmth keeps flowing and doesn’t escape through your home’s roof.
#4 Insulate Your Pipes & Water Heater
Unused hot water will naturally cool off. When you do want that hot shower after a day of skiing or hiking in the cold, it’ll have to be reheated. The act of reheating can cost you up to 20% of your water heating costs in the chilly months. If you can insulate that heat in your pipes, you can save money and ensure your home’s hot water production is more efficient.
Test the insulation quality of your pipes or water tank simply by touching it. Is it warm to the touch? If so, and especially if they’re located in the basement, attic, garage, or outdoor storage space, they could probably benefit from your insulation efforts.
Visit your local hardware store to get a pre-slit pipe foam. Cut the foam to the right size you need and then secure it to the pipe with the help of duct tape. This will help prevent the heat from escaping the pipe. Consider buying a thermal heat blanket to help insulate your water heater.
#5 Winterize Your Home’s Roof
Take the time during the Autumn months to check on your roof. Does it require any maintenance? Are there any loose gutters? Damaged shingles? Especially take the time to clean out the gutters. A clogged gutter could result in water damage to your home and/or flooding to your basement and foundation. Make sure they’re set to drain to the proper location and at a reasonable distance from your home’s foundation. Since your roof is a big barrier between you and the outside elements, make sure it’s properly winterized and maintained.
#6 Stop Drafts with Insulation
Before winter sets in, take a moment to check on the insulation status of your attic, basement, and exterior walls. Are they properly insulated? Stop up any nooks or crannies in corners, in chimney joints or pipe and wire exits. When you’re paying money to heat the inside of your home, you certainly don’t want cold blasts of air sneaking in.
#7 Clean and Inspect the Furnace & Fireplace
Winterize your home by cleaning your furnace. Plan to examine your furnace filter before winter arrives and then once again in the spring. Clean and replace the filter as often as necessary. Failure to do so will result in obstructed airflow and thus a less efficient furnace…and more expensive heating.
Check on your fireplace too. Ensure that the damper is functioning properly and that the chimney is free of unwanted squatters, like birds and rodents. Make sure you get your fireplace inspected annually. This will ensure that the chimney’s structural integrity is still satisfactory. A good cleaning will remove extra soot and ash, things that can become a serious fire hazard.
#8 Winterize Your Home With A General Home Inspection
Do a walk-through and general inspection of your house. Deal with any necessary repairs to your home’s foundation, basement walls, siding, and driveway. Touch up peeling paint on your trim, fences, or siding, and make sure your exterior lighting is functioning properly. Make sure you have a bag of salt on hand when the winter weather and icy conditions do come. For more tips on how to keep up with home repair, check out How to Budget for Home Maintenance and Repairs in Port Alberni.
We hope these 8 simple tips to winterize your home have been helpful to you as you look ahead to the cold months.