Winter is approaching fast and here at GreenEdge we like to put out some tips on how to prepare your home for the winter months. Here in West Michigan it won’t be long and will will have snow on the ground. Last year at this time we were already shoveling. Some of these ideas deal with energy efficiency and some are just general tips. I tend to put these tasks off to the last minute possible, but when I get them done I feel much better about the season approaching. Just remember, a home needs constant maintenance and attention or it will deteriorate and lose value. A home is a great investment only when it is consistently maintained.
- Take of your window screens and store them indoors. The winter can be harsh on your screens and this is a great way to extend their useful life, as well as give you an opportunity to clean them.
- Change your furnace filter. Hopefully you check this every month, but if you are anything like me, life gets in the way. Chances are you are running on a dirty filter from the AC running all summer. This is a great time to change it out and stock up on a few extras. That furnace will be working hard all winter and you should change it out at least half way and at the end of the heating season.
- Have a professional HVAC contractor tune up your furnace if this hasn’t been done in awhile.
- Lock windows and check weather stripping on all doors. Since windows were probably opened during the summer and fall, chances are there are some that are unlocked. An unlocked window is not sealed completely. This tip will most likely NOT be reflected on your energy bill, but could help with the comfort of certain rooms, and remember everything adds up.
- If not already done, put some weather stripping on the attic hatch as well as insulate it. This is a major area for air leakage.
- Make sure your set points are adjusted for the winter on your programmable thermostat. I recommend heating to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, when you are at home and have it go down to 65 degrees when you are away. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, get one!
- Rake the majority of the leaves off the lawn. If you leave a large quantity of leaves on the lawn it will likely grow a lawn fungus that can eventually kill the grass.
- Trim your shrubs that need pruning. For example, native hydrangeas and decorative grasses grow better in the spring if they are pruned back. Make sure you check with your local greenhouse on the proper way to cut these back.
- Stock up on driveway and sidewalk salt to take care of ice.
- Last but not least, if you are planning on some major renovations, hire a professional. They will not only get the job done right, they will help you determine what needs to be done first. Examples of these would be adding insulation, air sealing, changing out HVAC equipment, replacing windows/doors, dealing with humidity or ventilation issues, eliminating ice dams and the list could go on and on.
Obviously these are common sense, but its easy to get busy with the up coming holiday and realize its already half way through winter before any of this gets done.
If you feel you are having high energy bills or comfort issues make sure you get a home energy audit. These are great for solving problems and uncovering things you may not have been aware of. Call us at 616-419-8558.