10 Ways to Prepare Your Denver Home for Winter
Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 at 3:04pm.
It always happens, one day you are in shorts and the next the snow moves in and fall and then winter are here to stay. And while this week has been cold, it should be warming up again soon giving us plenty of time to do some housework and prepare our homes for winter. I recently found these 10 steps for preparing your Denver home for winter on Brightnest.com. All could be knocked out in an afternoon, and considering the potential energy savings, definitely worth the time investment.
1. Insulate your hot water heater. For a lot of homes, the hot water heater is one of the biggest energy users in the house. This is especially true if your heater is located in a non-insulated room like the garage. Just think how much harder your heater has to work to deliver those piping hot showers if it’s sitting in a 30 degree room! Consider adding an insulating blanket over your heater to maximize its efficiency this winter.
2. Bundle up your attic and crawlspaces. Gaps and holes in your insulation are similar to having gaps and holes in your coat. They kind of defeat the purpose. By repairing your insulation, you can save more than 20 percent on your utility bills this winter.
3. Protect your pipes. When water freezes, it expands. If it’s inside a pipe when it expands, the water breaks the pipe and leaves you with a gargantuan repair bill. To prevent this, shut down your sprinkler system and hose spigots before the first big freeze of the year. To protect your indoor pipes, be sure to never set your thermostat below 55 degrees F (even if you’re going out of town for an extended period of time).
4. Schedule a checkup for your furnace. We’re entering the prime furnace-usage season, so if there’s a problem, you want to take care of it now, not when it’s 10 degrees outside. Schedule a routine checkup for your furnace to make sure everything is kosher.
5. Change your linens and move your mattress. Strip and vacuum your mattress and machine wash all of your bed linens, including your comforters, duvets, bed skirts and pillows. Then, turn your mattress front-to-back and end-to-end – flipping your mattress prolongs its life by evenly distributing the wear.
6. Inspect your windows. Start by cleaning your windowpanes, then your drapes or blinds, and finish with the window tracks (a vacuum with a hose attachment works best for this last job). If your windows are older, you likely have weather stripping to help seal your windows and keep cold drafts and moisture at bay. Inspect this weather stripping to see if it’s torn, damaged or needs to be replaced. Proper weather stripping can reduce your energy bills by as much as 30 percent!
7. Inspect your exterior doors. For each exterior door, check the weather stripping that runs along the bottom and side of it for any cracks, leaks or wear. Close the door and place your hand along the bottom and sides of it. If you feel a draft coming through, you should replace your weather stripping. For extra insulation, purchase a few draft stoppers, which cost about $5 at your local hardware store.
8. Check your gutters. During the fall and winter, your gutters are filled with leaves, rainfall and snowmelt, so the clearer they are now, the better you’ll fare come winter. Break out a ladder (always practice proper ladder safety) and remove all dirt and debris from your gutters by hand.
9. Clean and store patio furniture. It’s always a good idea to clean your patio furniture before you store it inside for the winter. Different types of patio furniture require different cleaning techniques, so to learn how to properly clean your type of patio furniture, read: Clean Your Deck / Patio. Tip:Remove any stains from your furniture cushions before putting the chairs into storage, because if a stain sits on the fabric all winter, it’ll be more difficult to get out.
10. Clean light fixtures and dust ceiling fans. It doesn’t take long for dirt to create a film on your light fixtures and a layer of dust to form on the blades of your ceiling fan. To clean your glass light fixtures, denture tablets are actually one of the most effective products. To remove dust and dirt from your ceiling fans you simply need a ladder, canned air and all-purpose cleaner.