Falling leaves, cooler weather, and shorter days are seasonal reminders to prepare our homes for winter. A little preparation and modest expense can save your home from costly damage and excessive heating costs. Check out our to-do list curated by top experts. You might just find some new ideas to keep this season snug, safe, and budget-friendly.
- Test your detectors.
Residential fires and instances of carbon monoxide poisoning are more common in winter, so it is important that all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work. Check them monthly and replace batteries as needed. And if you don’t have one – install a carbon monoxide detector to avoid inadvertently trapping this toxic and potentially lethal gas in your home.
- Prevent Pipe Pressure Buildup.
Consider installing an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system to protect against burst pipes. An alternative is to keep a few faucets slowly dripping during spells of very cold weather, to keep water in pipes flowing. If needed, you can also insulate pipes and protect them with heating tape. Before you go on vacation, turn the water off and drain the pipes if freezing weather is expected.
- Clockwise Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are everyone’s favorite summer budget-saver. But they can help out in the winter as well. Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction so they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor for more efficient heat circulation. If they’re going counterclockwise, they won’t be as effective.
- Prep The Yard And Deck.
Make sure your patio furniture covers are sound or replace them before the cold weather hits. Clean leaves out of your gutter and consider adding leaf guards. If your deck is made of wood, give it a fresh coat of sealer. Check any other exposed outdoor wood structures like pergolas and paint or touch up as needed. Keep the trees trimmed and remove dead branches and debris. Ice, snow and wind can weaken trees and cause branches to fall and potentially damage your home, car, or worse.
- Install Programmable Thermostats
A programmable thermostat makes life a little bit easier by allowing you to set your desired temperature and not have to worry about it. In the winter, a programmable thermostat allows you to save money on your energy bills. Studies show you can save one percent for every eight hours you set your thermostat down. This might not sound like much but it adds up.
- Check your Heating/Central-Air Systems
Get your HVAC maintenance company to check your heating system and change filters.
Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating system can significantly improve its efficiency and longevity, while easing the pressure on your wallet.
- Keep Drought Out
Ill-fitting windows and draughts from chimneys and under the doors can let the elements in and waste heat and money. Weatherstrips, caulk, and insulation film for windows are good short-term fixes that avoid the need for repair or replacement. Draft guards under doors can help keep rooms insulated. And if you have a chimney without a built-in means of blocking the vent, keep drafts out and save a lot of money with an inexpensive chimney balloon.
- Check Your Insurance Policies.
Make sure your insurance policies have the necessary coverage and suitable deductibles for your budget and needs. Don’t wait for an emergency to find out the hard way.
- Top Up Your Emergency Fund.
Insurance only goes so far if winter havoc leads to costly repairs. It’s always wise to keep a cash fund ready to cover emergencies, from a drain backup up by flooding, to the deductible on a leaky roof repair. Your Credit Union has many ways to make your funds grow faster, including our Rainy Day savings account offering 3% interest on up to $2,000 in savings. Or our Round It Up program that rounds up each debit purchase to the nearest dollar and moves the balance to Checking or a designated savings account.
- Enjoy The Holidays!
Winter and its onset is a great time to be with family and friends and to warm the spirits. Be sure to check your budget to ensure adequate funds for the holidays and New Year’s fun. If you have a holiday savings account, like our Holiday Club, top it up. If not, consider opening an account now and see your savings grow with healthy interest – to effortlessly cover next year’s holiday expenses.