Winterizing Your Home: The Next Steps
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Now that you’ve eliminated those pesky drafts and begun some basic winterizing before it gets too cold—now it’s time to take a deeper dive into some of the more labor-intensive add-ons. Unless you or your spouse is particularly DIY-savvy, these are probably the kinds of projects you want to find a contractor or even a local handyman to help with. But it’ll be money well spent, as these winterizing tactics will not only save you on excess heating bills when the temperature drops, but could help you lock in up to $1,500 in tax credits. Read on!
- Heating system maintenance should be part of your annual winterizing routine. If your system isn’t as efficient as it could be, you’ll wind up throwing away money each year. If your furnace, boiler or water heater is more than 3 or 4 years old, have it inspected. If it’s 10-15 years old, think about replacing it.
In that vein, a tankless water heater has fast become a popular addition for homeowners who are planning to stay in their property for a few years. It’s efficient, cost effective and more than pays for itself in about 5-7 years.
Insulate! Insulation is probably the most standard winterization tactic—look at your attic, around plumbing, in basements and inside of walls. Is there enough to keep warm air in and cold out? Ask your contractor or handyman what he recommends. Some options like rolled fiberglass and blown-in cellulose are popular choices, but are sometimes not ideal given a home’s specific needs.
- Check your doors. Adding weather stripping is a great first step but, like your heating maintenance system, doors also need to be replaced from time to time. If your door is 15-20+ years old, consider investing in a new one versus trying to seal off the old. You’ll save in both heating and cooling costs.
Speaking of doors, installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45%, as it both seals drafts and limits air flow. Storm windows can also be a lifesaver once the winter wind starts howling—some homeowners even add them to their sheds and attics, just to be safe. What’s more, efficient doors, windows and skylights all qualify for a federal tax credit to cover up to 30% of the cost, or $1,500 come April 15th.
- Have hoses and air conditioner pipes drained, and have the equipment checked for pooled water. Looking for a new AC? Prices are great now, and you can get 30% of the cost reimbursed if you go with an energy efficient central air system. That could add up to $1,500 in tax credits in addition to the decreased cooling costs come next summer!
The cold will be here before you know it—so it’s definitely time to get winterizing! Start with last week’s simple tips that you and your family can tackle solo, then leave the heavy lifting above to the pros.
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