If you’re a homeowner, you know the annual drill of winterizing your home to protect against the cold. The basics include wrapping pipes to prevent freezing, insulating attics and basements, and caulking doors and windows - especially if you live in the Northeast or the Midwest.
But do you know the tricks of the trade to help keep costs down and make the whole thing easier? Here are seven clever and surprisingly inexpensive ideas and products to make sure your home stays safe and warm this winter:
Two: Store your stack of wood away from your home. Most people who own a fireplace prefer having their woodpile handy: They store their wood against the outside wall of their house. However, there’s a risk of termites and other pests infesting the woodpile and then moving right into your home. Instead, keep your woodpile at least three feet away from the house. You can keep a wood “crib” on your porch, deck or patio for a night’s supply.
Three: Check for drafts with incense. This simple advice will help you easily spot any draft. Light an incense stick and pass it around the edges of common leak sites. If the smoke blows into the room, you’ll know there’s a draft and can take care of it promptly.
Four: AC DraftShield: These central AC vent covers prevent cool air from entering your home through your air conditioning unit – helping to reduce your monthly energy bill. Each 14” X 14” cover costs about $25. The covers are available in six sizes and are reusable for several years.
Five: The Ice Carpet: This no-slip carpet comes in different lengths and creates a safe traction over ice and snow. There’s no more need to shovel, sand or salt your front steps or pathway. It costs less than $20; keep in mind you’ll probably have to buy a new one every year.
Six: Frost Guard: Think of it as an ice carpet for your car windshield. For $26, you’ll no longer need to incessantly scrape your car to remove ice and snow. Instead, place the cover on the windshield, attaching it to the rearview mirrors to provide full coverage. After the storm, simply pull off the cover and dump the snow that built up.
Seven: Nest: If you’re a weekend homeowner or away on vacation, or even a typical commuter, this Internet-based thermostat can be set, changed, and read by any device. It’s pricier ($249) than the other products listed here, but it does have a brain.
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