Winterize for Savings and Safety
Ten ways to winterize your home and auto.
Cooler temps can mean higher heating costs. But you can always find ways to make your home more efficient. Taking proactive steps to winterize your home and auto can help keep your energy bills more manageable and your car running at higher efficiency.
Winterizing your Home:
- Seal drafts: According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), sealing gaps in windows and doors with weatherstripping and caulk can help reduce heat loss and lower your heating bills. A draft guard on the bottoms of doors that lead outside can help keep cold air from leaking in.
- Check insulation: The DOE recommends adequate insulation in attics and walls to maintain a warm indoor temperature and prevent heat from seeping outside. Adding or upgrading insulation can help improve your heating system’s ability to regulate temperature. Proper insulation can also help you save money and stay cool during summer.
- Programmable thermostat: If you have a routine of when you’re away from home and return, you can save money by programming cycles into a smart thermostat. Consider lowering the temperature while asleep under warm blankets and during the day when you’re away. Keeping a house warm when nobody is in it may waste energy.
- Service your heating system: If you use a central heating system, it’s important to have it professionally inspected, cleaned and maintained to ensure peak operating conditions as well as prevent breakdowns. Be sure to change your air filter regularly.
- Ceiling fans: Clean your ceiling fans of dust build-up, and set them in reverse direction to help circulate warm air during winter. Turn them off or set them to the lowest setting when you won’t be in the room.
- Water heater: If you use a tank water heater, ensure it’s adequately insulated. A poorly insulated tank can cause the heating system to run more frequently and longer, costing you money. Consider upgrading to a tankless heater. Not having to run to maintain a constant temperature could help save you money in the long run.
Winterizing your Auto:
- Check your tires: As air cools down, it contracts. When the winter season hits, your tires might be underinflated, causing you to use more gasoline and risking additional wear on your tires. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you should ensure the tires are properly inflated and have a proper amount of tread. Don’t forget the spare!
- Replace antifreeze: Don’t risk engine component damage or inefficient operation. Check your antifreeze/coolant level. Consider replacing it for the winter season and ensure it is in the correct mixture to prevent freezing.
- Engine maintenance: The NHTSA recommends keeping up with routine oil changes, filter changes and overall maintenance for better fuel efficiency and safer operation. And don’t forget to change the cabin air filter to help the climate control operate correctly. Try to avoid operating your car on a very low tank of gas to reduce the risk of running out of fuel on a cold night.
- Don’t idle: Modern automobiles are designed to warm up to operating temperature faster than in decades past. While you may be tempted to idle the car to get it warm while getting ready for your day on a cold morning, you shouldn’t leave it running for more than five minutes. Ten if you’re defrosting ice. Any longer than that is just wasting fuel and adding extra wear on your engine.
Cadence wishes you safe travels and happy holidays whatever your holiday season brings you. Has colder weather got you thinking about investing in insulation or upgrading your heating system? We can help you finance with a home equity line of credit. Put your home’s equity to work, unlocking additional value for you. Get started with a HELOC today!
Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, Ready.gov, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.