Winterize your home: How to keep your family safe while saving money on your electric bill, this winter

November 15, 2018 | by BMI Staff

Do It Yourself

These are a few things you can do, yourself, to prepare your home for winter. Each project is low budget, and the instructions are simple to follow! 

Make a Draft Snake.
Door and window drafts that creep into houses throughout the winter can eat heavily into the cost of heating a home. Blocking the drafts with a homemade “snake” can provide an energy savings of up to 30%. Below is a set of easy, no-sew instructions to create your own draft snakes. 

  1. Begin with a pair of girls’ tights, leg warmers, or long socks.  
  2. Cut the legs of the tights from the connecting fabric.  
  3. Use a funnel to pour dry rice into the tube, filling it up, and tie off the open end in a knot.  
  4. Tie the other end to match. (Although this side is already closed off, tying it will make it look more like a tube and less like a leg with a foot!) 
  5. Place the draft snake next to your front door, and make more for your windows! 

Switch the Direction of Your Fan.
Did you know that ceiling fans may be used for more than just cooling off a room? Due to the tilt of the blades, ceiling fans are capable of both pushing air down and pulling it up, depending on the direction the fan is going. If your ceiling fan has the capability of going in reverse, you’ll be able to flip a switch on the unit. This will help circulate the heat that naturally rises back into your living space. Just don’t forget to switch it back in the summer! 

Adjust Your Thermostat.
The largest portion of a household’s energy budget goes toward heating and cooling, but most homes are left vacant for a large portion of each day. By setting your thermostat a few degrees lower each morning, you’ll shave a few pennies off of your daily energy cost. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it in advance so you never forget to change it. 

Bundle Up.
Who says a cozy sweater can’t be worn as loungewear? Rather than cranking up the temperature to feel comfortable in shorts and a tank top, don some season-appropriate outerwear and watch your electric bill drop in price. 

Switch Our Your Lightbulbs.
The type of bulb you use to light up your home has a large impact on energy consumption. While it is impossible to eliminate energy expulsion entirely without living in total darkness, there are light bulbs specifically manufactured to cut down on the impacts. Search for compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) rather than incandescent lights. CFLs cut down on energy by 70-90%, and each bulb saves about $55 on the electric bill during its lifetime. 

Hire A Professional

The above fixes are simple, and just about anyone can do them effectively, but there are a few projects that may require a professional’s assistance. If any of the following problems arise that are too difficult to fix on your own, consider hiring outside help. 

Get an HVAC Inspection.
Leaking air ducts can expel heat into unwanted spaces before even entering your home, costing you hundreds of dollars a year. HVAC professionals will perform a general inspection to ensure your equipment will run efficiently, all winter. In addition to examining your ducts, an inspector will check everything from air filters and fans to gas pipes and carbon monoxide. Overall, this inspection should cost around one hundred dollars, but the savings that will follow will be well worth it. 

Permanently Seal Drafts.
While creating a draft snake is a quick and easy trick, the solution is not permanent. This is fine with minor leaks, but in the case of large gaps, the problem could need a professional fix. If the draft snake does not seem to make a difference on the air flow or the electric bill, hire a contractor to fill the gaps. 

Insulate Your Pipes.
This chore is important for both keeping pipes from freezing throughout the winter and maintaining the hot temperature of your water. While it is possible to complete this task on your own, hiring a professional will save you tons of time and ensure the job gets done correctly. Professionals will be able to provide the best foam insulation and length of material for your pipes, leaving you to handle more important tasks, this holiday season. 

Find an Agent.
Whether you choose to winterize your home on your own or hire a contractor for assistance, make sure your home is properly insured this winter. No matter how prepared you are, winter storms and natural disasters are never planned and cannot be prevented. Find an agent or get a free quote before entering into the winter season.