As the leaves change color and the temperature drops, it’s time to start thinking about winter. Winter in the United States can be pretty unforgiving. The average winter temperature can reach 33.2 Fahrenheit. That’s the water temperature at the end of a polar bear’s fur. The winter months also have an average of 111 days below freezing, meaning that it is colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This weather can be tough on people who do not know how to prepare and stay safe during this season.
For many people, that means breaking out the heavy coats and boots, cranking up the heat, and hunkering until spring. But there’s more to preparing for winter than ensuring a warm place to stay. Here are some affordable ways to prepare your home and your family for the colder months ahead.
Service Your HVAC System
Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) works hard to keep your home comfortable all year. But just like any other mechanical system, it needs regular maintenance to function correctly. Before winter arrives, schedule a tune-up for your HVAC system with a qualified technician. This will help ensure your system is running efficiently and can help prevent costly repairs down the road. If you don’t have an HVAC system, consider getting a furnace.
The furnace is one of the most affordable heating options. It’s also one of the most popular; gas and electric furnaces are the most common types of heating systems in homes. Here are some things to consider when choosing a furnace:
- Size – Check your home’s square footage and choose an appropriate unit. A technician can help determine whether your home needs high or standard efficiency, which will affect its cost.
- Installation – Furnaces require gas lines, piping, and vents. The type of home you have will determine what is required for installation. For example, a typical one-story ranch-style home will have most of the requirements for your furnace to work correctly. If you don’t want any trouble with this, consider hiring a furnace installation service to do the job for you. They might even help you install centralized heating with your furnace. This can drastically reduce your overall heating costs.
- Maintenance costs – Once installed and properly maintained each year, a furnace can last 10-20 years. Regular maintenance will prevent small issues from becoming major problems in the future.
Seal Up Drafty Windows and Doors
One of the most significant sources of heat loss in homes is drafty windows and doors. To help reduce heat loss (and energy bills), take a walk around your home and check for any gaps or cracks where air might leak. Then, seal up those openings with caulk or weatherstripping. You can find these materials at most hardware stores relatively cheaply.
Additionally, it might be smart to insulate your home as early as possible. This will help your home feel warmer during the colder months by trapping heat in and keeping it from escaping. You can use fiberglass if you want a cheap and easy option. But remember that this method is less durable and can lose its insulating properties over time. A foam insulation product may be a better long-term investment because it lasts longer but is also more expensive than fiberglass.
Bring in Furniture and Decorations
When the temperatures start to dip, it’s time to say goodbye to your outdoor furniture and decorations until next spring. But before you pack everything away, give it a good cleaning so it’ll be ready to go when warmer weather returns. Once everything is clean and dry, store it in a dry, protected area such as a garage or shed. This will help prolong its life and prevent damage from freezing temperatures or moisture.
Stock Up on Winter Essentials
There’s nothing worse than being caught off guard by a winter storm with no food or supplies. Here are three of the essential winter essentials:
The cold weather months can mean increased sick days from work and school, so you’ll want to be prepared. Make sure you have a stockpile of your family’s most-used medications so you don’t run out when the weather is terrible.
Ensure your pantry is stocked with enough food to last at least one or two weeks if roads are blocked, or you can’t leave your house.
Stock up on paper plates, towels, toilet paper, and other necessities that don’t require refrigeration. These items will help reduce the time it takes to do a quick clean-up if the power goes out.
You can help prepare your home and your family for winter weather without breaking the bank by taking a few simple steps now. This will ensure your family can stay warm and safe throughout the season.