Do you believe that your energy costs have been greater than usual lately? No, you’re not alone and certainly not imagining things. Sadly, energy bills will continue to rise as the temperature begins to fall.
As the crispy chills of winter sets in, it’s true there’s nothing more soothing than the coziness of your home. However, this season’s cold temperatures and chilly winds pose various challenges to the warmest of abodes. According to the latest news, utility providers are increasing their prices. And customers have been experiencing monthly bills that are nearly 20% higher than usual. Plus, the cost of natural gas has soared to levels not witnessed in a decade. And if this wasn’t enough, a recent report claims that the US heating costs will surge to 17.2% from last winter – an overall 42% increase since 2019. If you live in a city with high living costs, affording such bill hikes can be difficult. For instance, Charlotte, NC, with the cost of living 3% higher than the state average, recently witnessed a bill surge.
By looking at these staggering statistics, you might have probably begun thinking about ways to cut energy costs. But fret not. Below, we’ll share the perfect maintenance checklist to ensure your home is ready for a new round of icy temperatures.
1. Assess The Condition of The Roof
While a roof leakage or damage can be bothersome during any season, the winter season might be the worst time to encounter such issues. And if you live in the most populous city of North Carolina, Charlotte, where the winters are cold and wet, and temperatures drop below freezing point. In that case, it gives all the more reasons to inspect the condition of your roof beforehand.
You can go up a ladder to perform a visual inspection. However, it’s better to call in professionals if your home has a steep roof or if you notice any signs of mildew. Look up Charlotte Roofing Company near me to hire the most reliable and reputable roofers. These professionals can look for the sections where the shingles bend or crack and assess the roof’s integrity. They also have expertise and years of relevant experience tackling various issues like storm damage, loose shingles, and granule loss.
2. Winterize Your Windows
It’s no secret that your home loses significant heat through windows. Given this, it’s best to install double- or triple-paned glasses, which are considerably better than single-paned glass and hold the air between the layers.
However, there are times when the cold exterior air leaks in through the outer edges and infiltrates the atmosphere. To deal with this, you can embed draught excluders. The draught-proofing technique is an excellent way to stop chilly winds and prevent heat loss in your home.
But if you don’t wish to invest in something new, you can apply caulk and seal the spaces around the window panels to stop the frosty air coming into your home.
3. Install A Smart Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat is a simple upgrade but yields many rewards. It allows you to conserve energy and save significantly on your bills.
A smart or programmable thermostat is a device that enables you to set temperature schedules based on your preferences. That means once your living space warms up, this modern device automatically decreases the temperature so that it doesn’t continually release hot air for prolonged periods. The Department of Energy advises setting the temperature around 68°F to 70°F when at home. However, drop it down a few degrees when going out or sleeping.
Today, most brands have introduced applications to regulate the temperatures on thermostats remotely or without leaving the comfort of your bed. In other words, you can operate this handy device even when you are away.
4. Inspect Chimney
Since you most likely haven’t used the chimney during the sunny season, getting it assessed and cleaned is an essential task you must check off from your winter maintenance checklist. Even if you have kept the chimney sealed, you must take measures to maintain it. Because water may get stuck inside during snowy periods, leading to leakage and damage problems.
Therefore, start by assessing the structure to detect any signs of damage. Also, examine the condition of the mortar joints and determine whether it’s in good shape. Tackling these issues well in advance can help avoid seepage problems during the winter.
That said, you can enlist the help of a professional inspector to assess the chimney. An experienced inspector can remove debris and soot buildup and install chimney caps to avoid blockages and maintain airflow.
5. Check the Furnace
When winter-proofing your home, getting your furnace examined and cleaned is an excellent idea. This way, you can ensure that the furnace filters are in good working condition and will perform optimally in the coming winters.
So, begin by thoroughly checking the condition of filters and replacing them if needed. Next, assess exhaust flues and ensure that the vents are functioning adequately. Also, vacuum the interior of the furnace and oil the blower belt and motor.
Moreover, test the furnace through its paces before the cold weather hits your home. Once switched on, you might smell an unusual transient odor. However, if this stench continues for an extended period, there might be a problem. And you may need to call the professionals to resolve the issue immediately.
6. Stock Up on Winter Essentials
If there’s one thing that the last decade has taught us, it’s that severe weather conditions can occur anywhere and at any time. As the adage goes, failing to plan is equal to planning to fail. So, begin by stocking up on winter equipment.
Don’t wait for gusty winds and snowstorms to get your winter essentials in working condition. Instead, take out your snowblower and change the air filter and motor oil to get the machine in good shape. Once done with the essential maintenance, grease the linkages and chute so that each part works perfectly.
Besides this, stock up on other emergency preparedness items such as first-aid kits, batteries, a weather radio, an emergency car kit, pet food, flashlights, and canned food.
Cold, rainy days and snowstorms can spell myriad problems inside and around your humble abode. Nonetheless, by winter-proofing your home, such as checking insulation, inspecting chimney and furnace filters, sealing windows and doors, and investing in smart thermostats, you can significantly save up on energy costs. Not only this, but you can also shield your home from potential damages brought on by severe weather conditions and ease knowing your space is in pristine condition. Taking proactive steps to winterize your home helps create a cozy and secure haven for your loved ones. So, knuckle down to these projects and stay toasty all winter long.