Sonya Dickinson | (540) 353-0123

Winter is coming soon! Not long now, night temperatures will be regularly dipping into the 30s, then the 20s, and all of a sudden we’ll be talking about snow!

Wintertime can be hard on your house — and your wallet. Tending to a few improvements now can ensure your home — and your bank account — survive till spring!

Plumbing

  • Insulate exposed pipes to help prevent freezing and bursting. It can also cut the cost of hot water.
  • Consider insulating your water heater, as well, if it’s in a part of the house that isn’t heated.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater. The Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most manufacturers default to 140 degrees.
  • Turn off the water supply to outdoor spigots and sprinklers and drain them.

Drafts and leaks

  • Repair simple leaks around doors, windows and other seams around the house.
  • Seal up gaps with caulking and weatherstripping.
  • Place a draft snake or rolled towel around draft doors to keep cold air out.
  • Refresh insulation, especially in the attic, where the most heat loss typically occurs.
  • Don’t forget to insulate your attic hatch or disappearing staircase as much as possible.

Windows and doors

  • Replace windows and storm doors with energy-efficient models. Look for Energy Star-certified products, which will also make it easier to keep your home cooler in the summer. Added bonus: Energy-efficient windows and doors will add value to your home at resale, and you could even qualify for a tax credit.
  • If new windows and doors aren’t in the budget, install plastic window installation, weatherstripping or a spring v-seal.

Heating and cooling

  • Have your furnace inspected and serviced before it’s time to turn it on or early in the season.
  • Replace your furnace filter, or, if you have a reusable filter, clean it.
  • If you use heating fuel, make sure the tank is full.
  • Drain air conditioner hoses and pipes, and eliminate any water that’s pooled in the equipment.
  • Turn off the water shutoff valve if your air conditioner is equipped with one.
  • Clear the space around the air conditioner of any debris, such as fallen limbs or leaves.
  • Remove your window units or buy covers for them to keep cold air from coming in all winter.

Chimneys and fireplaces

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected, especially if it’s been more than one season since you used it.
  • Install a chimney balloon if your fireplace does not have a damper.
  • Equip your fireplace with an insert to better circulate warm air around the space.

Roofs and gutters

  • Replace missing shingles and repair leaks.
  • Clear the roof of debris from trees and other sources. Trim trees so that limbs aren’t hanging over the house.
  • Keep water flowing freely through gutters by clearing out any debris so water doesn’t get trapped and freeze.

Odds and ends

  • Set your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise so that warm air near the ceiling is pushed back down into the room.
  • Replace your thermostat with a programmable model that will allow you to create a custom schedule so the heating system maintains one temperature when you’re at home and another when you’re not.
  • Schedule an energy audit to find out where you’re losing energy and learn what you can do to improve efficiency and lower energy bills.

If you have questions about winterizing your home — or about how upgrading to energy-efficient appliances and other products can help you at resale — contact me at (540) 353-0123 or sonya@sonyadickinson.com. Browse my listings here and be sure to like my Facebook page.