Bundle up- we’re in for a cold one!
Have you heard the news from the 2017 Farmers’ Almanac?
“While last winter was a reprieve from shoveling and high fuel bills,” says the Farmers’ Almanac, “the party is over.”
“Last year’s El Niño produced warmer than normal weather, extremely warmer,” said Tim Clark, an Almanac editor. “This year, the ocean current shifts to La Niña.”
What does that mean for Vermonters? Prepare your home for a cold winter- and a snowy one.
It’s forecasted to be extremely chilly- in February, northern tier states could see ambient air temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero! While this is good for our snow sports industry, this means a little more preparation on the part of homeowners.
Here’s a list of eight steps to prepare your home for the cold, snowy, windy months ahead:
1. Close the fireplace damper when there isn’t a fire
Okay, it seems like a no-brainer, but we wanted to start out with an easy one. Keep the drafts out by remembering to close the fireplace damper once the embers have cooled.
2. Let the warm heat flow
Make sure radiators, baseboard heaters, and furnace registers are dusted or vacuumed and are not blocked by furniture, carpets, or drapes. This may mean a little re-arranging- use this exercise as an excuse to try out a new furniture arrangement!
3. Create draft stoppers
For the crafty ones among us, learn how to create adorable draft-stopping snakes. For the not-so-craftily inclined, you can make draft blockers with old socks or jeans, roll up an extra blanket, or of course, you can buy draft stoppers at most home goods stores.
4. Install storm windows and doors
Not only does this keep the cold air out, but it also protects your windows and doors from damage. This Old House has a great guide on installing storm windows, and Efficiency Vermont has a great guide on how to choose the right ones for your home.
5. Clean or replace furnace filters
For both energy efficiency and indoor air quality purposes, clean or replace your furnace filters every few months. Learn how to clean them here.
6. Weather-strip and caulk
Stop drafts by sealing windows and doors, as well as any large gaps in basements or crawlspaces and around dryer vents. Weather strip the moveable parts of windows and doors, and caulk the stationary ones.
Weather-stripping can be simple and cheap– all it takes is a measuring tape, a utility knife, and rolls of adhesive backed weather stripping.
After you’ve weather stripped, caulk the remaining gaps and cracks- learn some tips and tricks from this video:
7. Get your furnace or boiler tuned-up
A pre-winter tune up will increase the efficiency and life expectancy of your furnace or boiler- call an HVAC contractor or fuel dealer to have them tune it up before the cold sets in. If you’re a DIY-er, check out some steps homeowners can take to do simple maintenance on their own.
8. Air seal and insulate- get an Energy Audit!
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A HEAT Squad Energy Audit creates a personalized, holistic approach to energy efficiency upgrades that result in increased savings, comfort, and safety for you.
HEAT Squad’s comprehensive energy audits consider your entire house as a system and focus on efficiency improvements that will improve the heating and cooling systems of your home in a healthy and safe way. For $150, learn what improvements can create the most bang for your buck as well as the greatest increases in comfort and safety, and what incentives are available for those upgrades.
Contact HEAT Squad today to schedule your energy audit and prepare for a cozy and snug winter inside your healthy, safe, and efficient home!
Consider an energy loan to finance your health, safety, and efficiency improvements and start saving even as you repay!
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