How to Winterize a House: Tips and Advice

Winter is officially on its way, so what are the tips on how to winterize a house? We spoke to a plumbing, electrical and heating and cooling expert for the answers.

Here in Michigan, we aren’t strangers to cold weather. But, even with all the experience we have with these frigid conditions, a lot of us forget an important step in surviving them — besides wearing 20 layers below our winter jackets and turning our heat on full-blast, of course.

We’re talking about winterizing your home — and you should consider doing it if you want to save energy, save money on your electricity bill and live comfortably this winter.

Here are a few suggestions on how to winterize a house.

Cover up drafty windows

For those living in old homes with even older windows, it can be too cold to enjoy the space without bundling up.

Chris Berkobien, who at the time of interview was a commercial service salesman at Goyette Mechanical, based out of Pontiac, says to invest in storm windows.

“They usually range from $30 to $100, depending on how good it is and how many windows you need to use them for,” Berkobien says.

And if you want to choose a cheaper alternative, look towards purchasing a window insulation kit, which Berkobien says ranges from $5 to $10 depending on how big the window is.

Insulate water pipes

When it comes to winterizing your house, many people are not aware they should protect their hot and cold water pipes. “It keeps the heat inside your pipes,” Berkobien says.

If your pipes are not insulated, you could lose that heat through your water. “This is especially the case if you have a crawlspace,” Berkobien says.

Insulation will usually run you 50 cents per foot and you’ll need about 30 to 50 feet for a house, Berkobien adds.

Upgrade your thermostat

A lot of us forget to turn our thermostats down when we go to bed, so it’s a good decision to purchase a thermostat with a night setback option. Berkobien says you can set the temp to around 60, or whatever you need, so while you’re sleeping you’re saving on energy.

“It helps you save on your gas bill and makes sure your furnace doesn’t run as hard,” Berkobien says.

Add insulation to your attic

Although it can be on the pricier side — $500 to $2,000 — insulating your attic can help your home stay at the warmest and most comfortable temperature possible for the winter. “The heat from the furnace will stay in the house,” Berkobien says.

So, you’ll no longer need to be pulling two to three blankets out just to keep warm!

Use a draft guard

A much cheaper alternative than insulating your attic, Berkobien says, would be purchasing a draft guard, which would usually run you about $10, but you can always use a towel or other alternatives.

You would put a draft guard under your doors or windows to stop the cold air from entering your home. And you save a lot of money on not buying all of that insulation.

“It keeps the heat in your home,” Berkobien says.

Check your furnace filter

It’s also a good idea to check in on your furnace during the colder months before it’s too late and you’re stuck having to buy a new one, which costs anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000.

When you check your furnace filter and clean it out, you will be encouraging better airflow and a cheaper energy bill, Berkobien adds.

If this is your first time inspecting your furnace and its filter, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. “Call your local professionals and have them do it for you,” Berkobien says.

Get a heating tune-up

Always make sure that you are calling that professional over to tune up your furnace, which will help it run faster and better, he says. This will also help to extend the life of the furnace and — like we says many times before — save on energy, he adds.

Close up some heat ducts

Many of us also forget that the heat ducts in our homes are located in rooms that we may not use often. Berkobien says it’s important to close those heat ducts by flipping the grates over or putting a towel over it.

“Don’t heat the rooms you don’t need to,” Berkobien says.

And if all else fails…

If you choose to not put to use these tips on how to winterize your house to use, Berkobien notes that you always have an affordable and trusted option just hanging in your closet.

Put on a sweater!”

This post was originally published in 2018 and is updated regularly. 

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