When Jack Frost makes his first chilly visit to your area, you want your home prepared but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to do it. After all, you’ll need that extra money for hot chocolate sprees! With that in mind, it’s a relief to find that there are a variety of affordable (and in some cases, free) ways to prepare your home for winter.
Clean rain gutters.Image source: rainforestplumbing.com
Cleaning your gutters is one of the first things you can do to prepare your home for winter. As this link from Wise Bread (@wisebread) explains, gutters filled with leaves and other debris can create ice dams that can lead to
- damaged shingles
- roof leaks
- broken gutters
- flooding, as water may fall next to your foundation
Cleaning your gutters is free (so long as you avoid injuring yourself in the process, that is), and could potentially save you hundreds of dollars’ worth of damage to your home.
Fix any air leaks.
During the spring and summer, gaps in your door and window frames aren’t a big deal — the breeze is usually welcome, after all. When winter hits, however, that cold breeze can lead to soaring heating costs as your heater works harder to combat the unwelcome drafts. Money Talks News (@MoneyTalksNews) offers tips on how to spot and fix air leaks in this article. These fixes, they say, cost only a few dollars to fix, but will save you a bundle on your winter heating costs.
De-ice the cheap way.
Ice is the bane of many a Northerner’s existence. It’s everywhere during the winter months —in driveways, on windows, even on sidewalks. The Simple Dollar (@thesimpledollar) has several affordable tips for removing or preventing ice build-up. Instead of spending money on costly de-icers:
- Use a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol to combat ice on windows and doors.
- For temperatures just below freezing, mix rubbing alcohol with water and dish soap.
- Use sand instead of expensive road salt for your driveway.
Protect your pipes.
Frozen pipes lead to burst pipes; this is a universal fact of living in colder temperatures. The cost of repairing that kind of damage is astronomical, so protecting your pipes is a must for winter. Today’s Homeowner (@TodaysHomeowner) offers these easily affordable tips for protecting your pipes and what to do if they freeze:
- Turn off your sprinkler system.
- Keep your garage door closed during extreme weather.
- Use a hair dryer to slowly thaw any pipes that do freeze.
Change furnace filters.Image source: angieslist.co
Your furnace filter traps dirt, dust, and other small debris, so it gets dirty fast. As Candy’s Dirt (@DallasDirtCandy) helpfully points out, a dirty or clogged filter means less air passes through which can lead to higher heating costs. Check out the link for information on money-saving washable filters versus disposable ones.
Reverse your ceiling fan.Image source: apartmenttherapy.com
We all use our ceiling fans in the summer to supplement our A/C and keep our houses cooler, but did you know you can use them in the winter to keep your house warmer? I certainly didn’t until I read this list of tips from Art of Manliness (@artofmanliness). Evidently, reversing the direction your ceiling fan turns in (so that it turns clockwise) helps push the warm air down, forcing it to recirculate through the room.
Baby your hot water heater.
The smallest things can save you money; your water heater is by no means small. However, a few simple tricks will keep your water heater running smoothly and keep costs down through the coldest months.
- Kasasa (@Kasasa) recommends wrapping an insulated blanket or jacket around your water heater to cut up to 9% off your bill
- Well-known handyman Bob Vila (@BobVila)recommends flushing your water heater to increase its efficiency
- Money Talks News (@MoneyTalksNews) explains most hot water heaters are set to 140 and recommends lowering yours by 20 degrees to lower fuel costs.
Winter is cold enough without feeling a chill in your wallet, too. I hope these tips come in handy for you as you prepare your home for winter, and that you are able to be under-budget so you, too, can have all the hot chocolate all winter long. Do you have any budget-friendly tips I missed? What did you think of our low-cost winter preparations? Comment below to let us know and don’t forget to share.