9 Tips to Winterize Your Home That Can Save You Money

Fall is here and the aspen leaves are changing color. It’s a beautiful time of year for a drive to enjoy those views before winter is upon us and the less adventuresome head inside.

This reminds me, though, of the simple things we can do to winterize our homes. Here are some inexpensive tips:

Make sure your furnace filter is clean.

This is something that’s easy for any of us to overlook, but a dirty filter reduces the efficiency of your equipment and shortens the life of the equipment. A dirty filter restricts the airflow and overheats the furnace. Both of these problems can cost you more money, so keep a clean filter in your furnace.

Install a programmable thermostat.

With a programmable thermostat, you can program the temperature to a lower setting when you’re gone or asleep at night. Setting the temperature back during this time will save you money.

Beef up insulation.

One of the easiest ways to save some money is to have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic. Hot air rises and will escape through the attic unless the attic is sufficiently insulated.

Caulk and seal air leaks around windows and doors.

For drafts under doors, you may have to buy a rubber draft stopper to place at the bottom of the door.

Open the blinds in sunny rooms on colder days.

The little extra bit of heat radiating from the sun through the windows can help keep your bills down.

Drain your external water faucets.

Water that is sitting in pipes that lead to outside faucets can freeze and burst. A pipe that bursts is the last thing you need on a cold winter day.

Clean your gutters.

Gutters that are crammed with leaves can result in ice dams, which can lead to all kinds of costly outdoor repairs – damaged shingles, roof leaks, and broken gutters.

Get a carbon monoxide detector alarm.

For your safety you should have at least one carbon monoxide (CO) detector alarm in your home close to the area where you sleep. If you can, it is recommended to have a CO detector alarm on each level of your home. CO is one of the leading causes of poison death in the United States. Protect yourself and your loved ones by making sure you have a CO detector alarm in your home.

Have your furnace inspected.

Have your furnace cleaned and inspected for safety by a licensed HVAC contractor before the cold of winter hits us. This will give you assurance that your furnace is operating safely and at its optimum efficiency.


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Brad Guthrie is director of the HVAC-R Program at Front Range Community College. He is North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certified. He worked in HVAC-R for Xcel Energy for 20 years, developing a program for Xcel to train entry-level employees to become HVAC-R service technicians.

5 Responses to “9 Tips to Winterize Your Home That Can Save You Money”

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October 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm, M.D. said:

Very helpful and useful information! Thank you.

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October 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm, John Feeley said:

I’m glad we could help you.

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June 01, 2012 at 4:17 am, Julian Cassell said:

I just wanted to make a small (slightly picky!) comment on your point regarding carbon monoxide detectors. I think it’s great you’ve brought the subject to people’s attention, but I just think it needs to be emphasised that you really need CO alarms, rather than just CO detectors. If a consumer “googles” CO detectors, true, CO alarms will appear in the results, but also a selection of the detector patches which are often seen as an alternative to the battery, or, mains operated CO alarms. Because CO detector patches have no audible alarm, they’re obviously not much use when people are sleeping, and rely on people physically noticing a colour change of the patch, which again, is a bit ‘random’, in my opinion.
I think the patch detectors are fine as a back up to alarms, but I would always recommend people ensure they get “Alarms”, rather than “Detectors”, as their first line of defence.

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June 01, 2012 at 6:45 am, Michaele Charles said:

Glad you commented on this important distinction, Julian. Thank you!

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June 04, 2012 at 12:12 pm, Brad Guthrie said:

Good catch and excellent input. We will edit that to include the word alarm. That is definitely what I meant when I orignially put together the post. Again thank you, your input is greatly appreciated.