Winterizing your home is easy, inexpensive, and takes only a few hours of your time; in exchange, you’ll be helping the environment by using less energy and will have lower heating costs and a warmer home until spring. The first step is to make sure that your furnace is in top form. Then, focusing on keeping the cold air outside where it belongs will save you 20% to 30% on your heating bill. Here’s a handy checklist to ensure you stay toasty this winter…

Furnace 

  • Have your furnace inspected and tuned-up.
  • Get enough filters for timely heating season changes.

Exterior Leaks

  • Seal cracks around pipes, vents, or other entry points.
  • Seal gaps around doors with weather-stripping, and around windows with caulk.

Interior Leaks

  • Find and fix air leaks by doors, windows, and outlets.
  • On exterior walls, install foam outlet gaskets in outlets and light switches. 
  • For drafty windows, apply plastic sheeting to keep 90% of the heat inside. It’s inexpensive, easy to install, and readily available.
  • Ensure there’s at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic, or risk losing up to 45% of your heat. If you need more, consider using environmentally friendly cellulose.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Change the batteries in all smoke detectors.
  • Test your smoke detectors by using a small amount of smoke, not just pressing the Test button.
  • Get a new fire extinguisher if yours is more than 10 years old. Ensure existing fire extinguishers work.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near the furnace if you don’t have one. If you do, test it.

Plumbing

  • Turn off exterior faucets at the shutoff valve.
  • Insulate exposed pipes in a crawlspace, garage, or basement using foam sleeves.
  • Drain air conditioner pipes and shut off water at the valve.
  • Install a blanket for your water heater.

Indoor Air

  • If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get one. If you have one, use it.
  • Switch your ceiling fans to turn clockwise. This pushes the warm air down to you instead of letting it rise to the ceiling or up through the attic.

Chimneys and Fireplaces

  • Have your chimney inspected. It doesn’t need to be swept annually, but it does need an inspection before the first use.
  • Woodstoves need to be cleaned every time ¼ inch of creosote builds up, so check regularly.
  • Keep the dampers on fireplaces and glass doors on woodstoves closed unless they are in use.

Winterizing your home doesn’t take much time or money and can cut your heating bill significantly this winter. Set aside a day to complete your checklist and then rest easy in the coming months.