Preparing Yourself and House for Winter, Part Two

This is a continuation of last week’s blog that provided information on how to prepare the outside of your house.  Now let’s go inside the house and see what can be done to make your house more secure and cozy during the winter months.

1.       Insulation

        Most homes require 12 to 15 inches of insulation in the attic.  Adding insulation will not only make your home warmer but will also save on energy costs.

        Properly insulating walls, crawl spaces and floors can save you 10 percent on your energy bills. 

        Leaky ducts can be sealed with metal-backed tape or aerosol sealant.

        Insulating water pipes might be a good idea, particularly if they run through a chilly or unheated basement.

2.       Furnace

        Clean the furnace.  If not too dirty, you can vacuum the blades yourself.

        Check the furnace filter.  Change or clean according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

3.      Fireplace

        Stock up on clean, dry firewood and store away from the house to keep rodents at a distance.

        Keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use.

        If you use the fireplace frequently, think about installing an insert as it will blow heat into the room and limit heat loss up the chimney.  Again this will improve energy efficiency.

Here are some additional tips you may want to consider:

        Check out your snowblower to make sure it runs properly.  Fill it with gas ready to go.

        Make sure the snow shovel is in good condition, if not, purchase a new one.

        Stock up on ice melt and sand.

        Have indoor candles, matches or flashlights handy in case the power goes out.

        Buy a battery backup to protect your computer and other sensitive electronic equipment.

        Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food if you have one), extra blankets and a first-aid kit.

        A generator is a great idea to keep vital equipment going like a furnace if the power should be out for several days.  Make sure it is in working order with gas on hand to run.