Home Mender Inc. is here to offer you tips and tricks for all home maintenance and improvement needs.

You know you live in the south when it was 65 degrees one day and 15 degrees the next. It’s hard to keep up with the changing weather and here in Hampton Roads, VA cold days like today are a surprise. You never know if it’s going to be hot or cold from one week to the next. Either way, you need to protect your home by being ready in season and out.

The winterization process for those caring for a vacant house, such as a home that is for sale or a vacation home, is different from the winterization process of a home that is lived in, but both have importance and will not only save you from the hassle of a broken pipe but also save you money.

For vacant homes, the most important thing to do is drain all waterlines and turn off the water. This will protect against freezing pipes. Also, for long absences it is recommended to shut off the gas hot water heaters completely. Another winterization trick is to turn down the thermostat. Set the thermostat to a level adequate to keep the inside temperature above freezing and to keep things dry.

Now, the winterization process isn’t just for vacant homes. There are many things you can do for your home that will save you money and keep your home comfortable this winter. With the weather changing from day to day, you don’t know what to expect so it is better to be prepared and to keep your home at a consistent temperature. Here are some winterization tips to make your home feel warmer without turning up the heat.

 

1. Dodge the drafts

Drafts can give your thermostat a false reading and can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Simple dodge drafts by making a draft snake from a rolled up bath towel, or any scrap of fabric, and place it under a drafty door.

 

2. Change the furnace filters

Replace or clean the furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters will increase energy demand and restrict airflow. It’s easy to forget so make a monthly check on your calendar.

 

3. Water lines and A/C

Make sure any hoses are drained and stowed away neatly. Turn off exterior water spigots. Also, seal any water leaks around the place. If your a/c has a water shutoff valve, go ahead and turn that off.

 

4. Windows

Installing a storm door on your windows can increase energy efficiency by sealing drafts and reducing air flow.

 

5. Put up plastic

Pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware store. Window plastic is practically invisible and will add an extra buffer against drafts.

 

6. Caulk and weatherstrip

Take a good look at where two different building materials meet, these are usually in corners, around the fireplace, where pipes or wires exit along the foundation. It pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weatherstripping.

 

7. Insulate your pipes

You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and hold it in place with duck tape. You will pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. This also helps decrease the chance of pipes freezing.

 

8. Pay attention to the thermostat

One of the best ways to save money is to turn down the heat when leaving the building. Why pay for what no one uses?

 

9. Put on a sweater

Cozy up and start saving. Dress warmer for winter, even inside.

 

10. Consult a contractor

Hire an expert to perform an energy audit on your home. This will help you know which project to tackle first and which one is the most important for your home. If you have a vacant home, such as a vacation home, then a contractor can complete the winterization process for you.

 

Home Mender Inc., located in Hampton Roads, VA, is here for all your improvement and maintenance needs. Rain or shine, hot or cold, we want to put a smile on your place!

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