When the leaves, grass and trees outside are turning brown, being “green” may be the last thing on your mind. But when you make sure your furnace is running its best, you’re saving money on energy costs and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.
Home improvements made before the first cold snap can do more than save on your monthly energy bill. By taking stock on your home’s condition, inside and out, you can prevent damage and minimize wastefulness this winter.
Reduce energy loss
While it might be too late to make big changes to your heating source, you can keep your home warm and your energy usage down by making sure your home is adequately insulated during the winter, making the best of the heating you have.
- Replace or install weather stripping beneath the doorways, especially those most often used. And you can take insulation a step further by installing plastic film around your windows to reduce the amount of heat they lose.
- Hire a technician to inspect and assess your furnace to ensure your furnace as working as efficiently as possible. A technician will also inspect for leaking carbon monoxide.
- Change furnace filters, as a dirty filter can cause poor air quality and waste energy.
Look for potential problems
With the inside insulated, take precautions outside to ensure a safe and warm winter. Some of these tasks may be easily overlooked but are essential in preventing damage to your home.
- Turn off exterior faucets and disconnect hoses to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking, which might lead to more problems come the spring, including wasted water.
- Inspect garages, basements and crawlspaces for any sign of foundation damage. Cracks in the walls, rotting support beams and water-damaged insulation may indicate that you need a foundation repair expert to inspect your home for major damage.
- Clean out gutters to prevent extra weight during the winter and to allow efficient drainage when the snow melts. And while you’re cleaning the gutters, inspect the roof for damage, replacing any missing, warped or broken shingles.
Prepare the yard
For simple convenience, take advantage of the warmer weather to make any outdoor home improvement now rather than when the cold weather hits.
- Replace outdoor light bulbs with long-lasting CFLs so you won’t have to worry about replacing bulbs during blizzards or high winds.
- Add extra dirt around the foundation of your house to ensure that snowmelt and rain flows away from your house.
- Remove hanging branches above your house and electrical lines; snow can make branches snap and fall you’re your roof, or onto power lines, causing an electrical outage.
Few people enjoy the chores typically associated with winter, like shoveling driveways or salting sidewalks. But by taking some preventative measures now, you’ll at least be assured that you’re not wasting energy and that your home is secure.