During the beginning colder months many families are busy with holiday activities, and often don’t get to winterizing until it’s already too cold outside. A broken furnace or freezing pipes are doubly daunting when you’re dealing with cold or snow. It is recommended to start winterizing around the first freeze of the season, and getting started early on winterizing one’s home can significantly lower energy bills and save families money, especially with energy rate hikes over the past year. Here are the top five tips for winterizing your home.
Clean gutters and cover air conditioning unit
To prevent ice dams from forming, cleaning gutters is key to maximizing your heating bill, as well as installing gutter guards, which can help with ice buildup that could damage roofs, walls and gutters later. Covering your air conditioning unit with a tarp or plastic wrap, as well as closing and covering vents with weatherizing plastic, can greatly reduce winter heating bills.
Replace heater filters, flush/insulate water heater and drainpipes
Replacing furnace filters annually will make your heater more efficient. Flushing and insulating a water heater can significantly reduce the time it takes your water heater to heat up, and costs less in the long run. Find out at the hardware store what insulation is best to wrap around your water heater and drainpipes under kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Install and set programmable thermostats
Installing an energy-efficient and programable thermostat can help to reduce use and cost, allowing folks to set the temperature in their homes to lower temps when they’re not around.
Install honeycomb cellular shades
Cellular shades can also be a low-cost way to make your home more energy efficient. The shades are made of multiple cells that trap cold air, insulating the room from heat loss throughout winter. This option averages $30-$60 per window.
Weatherproofing windows and doors
Door draft stoppers or weather stripping can make all the difference, as heat pours out of doors and windows the most. Plastic window weatherizing kits come in packs of one, three and even up to nine windows, which on average are $5-$10 per window. There are also both indoor and outdoor plastic window winterizing kits for particularly drafty homes. Getting a door draft stopper or installing weather striping around doors can also greatly reduce drafts and keep heat in your home. Both options are also less costly, around $5-$25 per door.
PNM also offers a free energy efficiency kit to qualified households who meet the income criteria. They include weather striping and plastic window covering, as well as energy-efficient bulbs and much more. To apply for the free PNM Winterizing kits, click the PNM site here. Below is a video for more tips and programs from PNM.
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