Winterize Before You Pay The Price

Winterize Before You Pay The Price

So it is that time of year, the leaves are changing colors in Denver.  This means a lot of things, but when focusing on home owners, especially new home owners there a few items that you must take care of in order to prepare your new home for the winter.  Not only are these steps essential, they can save you thousands of dollars over the long run.    Here are a few of the most important tips for you:

1. Clean Rain Gutters- Having clean gutters not only makes your home look nicer, but it can also help prevent the build-up of ice on your roof. The faster that water can drain away, the less likely it is to melt and then refreeze on your roof or under your shingles. In addition, clean gutters reduce the risk of infestation and decrease the risk of mold in your home. If you don’t have leaf guards on your gutters, you might have to take several passes until all the leaves have fallen off the trees. While you clean your gutters, look for problem areas that may indicate that it’s time to trim the trees in your yard.

2. Trim Trees- Take a stroll around your yard and examine your trees closely. Do you see any limbs that could possibly knock out power to your home? Do you see limbs that could hit your car if they broke off during a winter snow storm? Take time now to trim any weak branches that look as if they could cause problems during winter storms. Trimming the trees during mild weather is much easier than trying to do it when it’s frigid outside.

3. Check for Leaks- Now that the nights have cooled down, you can probably locate drafts coming into your home. Find those leaks and seal them up before winter. Walk around your home on a chilly night and, using bare hands and feet, feel around your doors, windows, lights, and switch plates for cold air. If you detect cold air leaking in, this means that your warm air is going outside. You need to either add insulation to these areas, or seal them using weather-stripping, caulk, or spray foam. I know this can seem like an annoying chore – after all, these tiny leaks can’t make that much of a difference, right? Well, it all adds up. Energy Star estimates that sealing the leaks around your home can help you shave as much as 20% off your heating and cooling costs, thus making your home more energy efficient.

4. Check Your Furnace Filter- Before you start running your furnace, check the filter – it may need to be replaced. If your furnace filter looks dirty, then definitely replace it. During the winter months, I change my furnace filter every 4 to 6 weeks. Having a clean filter helps your furnace run more efficiently, which can save you energy and money. According to Planet Green, a clean filter can save you 5% to 15% on your heating bill. Additionally, if you haven’t done so already, consider upgrading your thermostat to a programmable thermostat. Installation is easy, and the ability to program your thermostat to only work when you need it can save more money on heating during the long winter months. This is just one of many green energy technologies that you can utilize for home improvement.

5. Insulate Pipes and Hot Water Heater- Have you insulated your water pipes and hot water heater? If you haven’t, this relatively easy project can help trim your water heating costs this winter, especially if your water pipes run through a chilly or unheated basement. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), insulating your hot water pipes can help raise the temperature 2 to 4 degrees. This can allow you to get piping hot water on a lower setting, saving you both energy and money. The DOE also states that insulating your hot water heater trims 4% to 9% off your water heating costs.

6. Add Insulation- The DOE states that adding insulation is one of the best ways to save energy all year round. During the winter months, that extra insulation makes your home feel warmer. The best news? Adding insulation to your attic is quite simple. I’m not great at home improvement, yet I completed a winter home improvement project two years ago that went off without a hitch. Adding insulation really paid off – my heat kicked on less frequently, which helped me save energy all winter long. Best of all, this home improvement project increases value. How do you know if you have enough insulation, or if you need more? Use the DOE’s Insulation Fact Sheet; it tells you how much insulation you need (the R-value) based on your zip code. Most homes require 12 to 15 inches of insulation in their attic. These are just some of the essentials that you should do to get your home ready for the winter. 

 Curious what your home is worth?  Use our FREE online valuation tool Click Here!
Michael Kane is a Broker Associate at Keller Williams. He is a member of the Carr Peck & Associates team that is recognized locally and nationally as in expert in real estate. Locally he is a member of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.  Nothing brings him more joy than making his client’s dreams become a reality!  For more information feel free to contact him or call 303-717-9284.  

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Dated: October 20th 2014
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