Check out my Fabulous Friday guest hostess Retha Barton from her blog Mommy Bee Wisdom. She has this helpful post about winterizing your home but her site is so much more!
Thanks, Retha for these tips!
Here in Colorado we were forecasted with a 40% chance of snow possible today. And since we were spared I thought what better time than now to stop putting off that weatherizing task I have been meaning to get to. The only part I don't like about winter time, is that added $50 to the bill each month. Although ever since I started weatherizing before the bad weather starts hitting, I haven't been paying that much extra each month. Now it is more like an extra $25 a month, which still keeps my utility bill under $100. I am really OK with that!
I really like Duck's Window Kit for this. The kit comes with 6 outlet insulators, and enough plastic wrap and tape to do 10 3 foot by 5 foot windows. I also bought new furnace filters, these should be changed once a year and cleaned once a month. If your home has forced air like mine you may want to think about also getting some vent filters which will keep dust from coming out of them and things from being stuffed down them. While your at the store also pick up some caulking to do anything that might need it. I bought tub and tile because I want water protection in an all purpose type of formula. But I want to be extra sure that my bathroom and kitchen are safe from leaks that could case a mold/mildew problem. Some other things to consider is window and door insulating strips, pipe insulating, and door thresholds (Duck carries all I believe). Quite often you can buy all of this stuff at any store, but I prefer the Re-Store. If you happen to be lucky enough to be near a Re-Store try there first. Re-Store is a place where products for home improvements and projects are donated, or reclaimed from old buildings. When you shop there you get the benefit of buying the products super cheap and the store gets the proceeds that go directly to habitat for humanity. I bought all of my supplies there and spent under $10 which included the caulk and gun!
First head outside and look for any cracks around doors or windows. These are bad news! If those cracks along siding, and under and around the doors and windows go unattended to they could cause mold, mildew, wood rot, and cold drafts. Take your caulk and insert it into the caulking gun. Follow the directions on the can of caulk for the correct way to do this. Cut the end of the tube along the lines, and get ready. Lay a small line of caulk along the crack, then with a wet finger smooth it out. Once you finish outside, and since you already have caulking all over your finger head inside and do behind the kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, and bathtub. Insert a nail in the end of your caulk when your done, so it won't dry out and all you need to open it is pliers!
Next cover the windows with plastic. This is really easy, but it is not always necessary. I do it, but only to four of my windows. The other windows I need to be able to open for circulatory purposes. Especially on Thanksgiving day! This stuff is really easy to work with, it is just a bit tedious. The directions on the package of whatever you bought should be sufficient. And I will just throw in what I have learned in the process of doing this. Always completely clean the window first, using some vinegar based cleaner. I say vinegar because it inhibits the growth of mold. If you skip this step you will notice something after your done, and it will bug you all winter long! Do send the kids out with dad while you tackle this job. Sometimes it's not easy putting up all that plastic without wrinkles then blow drying it while someone is tugging on your pant leg saying "can I blow on the window too?"
Just by completing the first two tasks you might be able to stave off turning that furnace back on. But before you do have to turn off the furnace be sure you change the filters inside of it. It is also a great idea to have your furnace serviced once a year. Mine is always done in September, but the timing really just depends on what sort of climate you live in. After you change the filters in your furnace go through your house and vacuum all of the heater vents. Finally put a filter into each of the vents so dust doesn't come up and objects can't fall down them. I have found some odd things in heater vents including rings, keys, pens, and my MP3 player. Fortunately this year they were clean and ready to go, all I did was change the filter.
Finally check all of your doors and any non-plastic covered windows for drafts. You can do this by very slowly moving a stick of incense around the edges of the doors and windows. If the smoke goes out or in you have a draft. Remedy these with some window and door strips. Adjust thresholds or purchase snugger fitting thresholds if the draft is under the door. Check pipes under your house and in garages for needed insulation. And lastly, feel all of your outlets and switch plates. If any of them are cold put an insulator behind it.
Now that all of that work is done, sit back and bask in your warm energy efficient home! Caring for our Hearth and Home is always important.