With fall on the horizon and winter following right behind, homeowners need to take steps to prepare their homes for the harsh winter conditions. Ignoring the potential damage that the cold weather presents can leave your home open to possible maintenance problems and taking a few easy steps can help to avoid that. Along with protecting against damage, you can also take measures that will help to reduce your wintertime energy consumption and by doing so, reduce the cost of heating your home.

Fight Drafts and leaks

In many homes, a significant amount of the home heating is lost due to drafts and leaks. As the winter approaches, the homeowner should take some time to address this problem. Check doors and windows for gaps that may be producing a leak, look for pipe cutouts on the exterior of the home that may need caulking and check your chimney for any gaps. Many of these leaks can be taken care of very easily and it significantly increases the efficiency of your home.

Prep your windows

Even if your windows don’t have any leaks, they can still be an area where a lot of heat is escaping from the home. If you have storm windows, take some time on your day off to install them. It does not take that long and it can increase your home heating efficiency by up to 40%. If you don’t have storm windows, use plastic weather stripping. It might not be quite as effective as the storm windows, but it can still make big difference.

Get your furnace and fireplace inspected

This step is not only important for efficiency but it is also needed to protect the safety of the home and its occupants. Every year you will want to get your home furnace and fireplace inspected. With the furnace, it gives the HVAC tech a chance to tune the heater up for winter and to make sure that there are not any serious problems that need to be addressed before the cold weather begins. If you use a fireplace, it is also important to have a professional check and clean the chimney to ensure that it is safe for use.

Install additional insulation

Adding to the insulation of the home can really help to reduce home heating costs. This can be especially true with older homes. Before the modern energy standards, builders did not put as much insulation in the home and this can lead to a significant heat loss. Check the insulation in your attic and see if you can use some more. You will also want to look for pipes that may benefit from insulation. Exposed pipes are at risk for freezing. If you see any pipes that are exposed, wrap them in insulation to protect against a potential pipe burst.

Switch to a programmable thermostat

The type of thermostat that your home has can make a significant difference for the efficiency of the home heating system. With a programmable thermostat, you not only have a finer degree of control over the temperature at any given time, but you can also program the unit to get the most out of your home heating without wasting a lot energy heating on an empty home. On top of that, this investment can also save you money on your air conditioning in the summer.

Preparing your home for winter is a sound investment of your time and money. It will reduce the cost of heating the home in the winter and it can also help you to avoid damage that can be caused by the extreme low temperatures. If you set aside a little time on a day off, you could complete most of these steps in less than a day.