According to the latest reports, prices for gas, heating oil, and fuels continue to rise across the country. Homeowners may expect to pay up to 54% more on their utility bills this winter. However, preparing your house for dropping temperatures and severe cold will not only help you avoid damages during winter but will also lower your heating costs.

What are the best ways to winterize your home? Pissed Consumer interviewed four experts to get the best tips for prepping a house for winter 2022. Check what experts say about maintenance costs, preparation for storms, and DIY repair works. Use their tips to save on unexpected bills this winter.

How to Track Maintenance Costs and Reduce Utility Bills This Winter?

John BodrozicJohn Bodrozic Co-Founder of HomeZada, a Digital Home Management service for homeowners that helps to maintain the property and take financial control over your home while also keeping it safe and operating efficiently.

What can help reduce utility bills this winter?

Tip 1. One big way to reduce winter energy bills is to caulk your windows on the inside and outside which helps prevent heat from escaping your home and from cold air from entering your home. Make sure you use the right type of caulk because different types of caulk are designed for interior and exterior purposes.

Tips 2. A second big tip is to check and add insulation to your attic space. Hot air rises and escapes through your ceilings, so having the appropriate amount on insulation above your ceilings in your attic space will reduce your energy bills.

Tip 3. A third tip is to clean out the lint from the back of your dryer. This vent gets lint that builds up over time, which is why your dryer has to work longer to dry a load of clothes. Cleaning it saves money because your dryer is operating more efficiently.

How to keep track of home maintenance costs and repairs during winter?

Keeping track of both preventative maintenance costs and any fix-it or repair costs is an important part of managing the financial aspects of your home. The general rule of thumb is that small preventative maintenance tasks that are regularly done save money because you avoid the more expensive fix-it or replace-it cost when something breaks or becomes so worn out the building material doesn’t function anymore.

Many people might use spreadsheets to keep track of these costs while others will look for specific digital home management apps that track these costs but also can scan receipts and invoices for good record keeping.  

Digital home management apps also provide onscreen reports to compare maintenance costs year over year and can show preventative versus fix-it costs. Some digital home management apps like HomeZada even create a preventative maintenance schedule for you that reminds you of when and what tasks should be done.

Winterize Your Home: Hire a Professional VS. DIY 

Some general rules of thumb are that if the homeowner can safely perform their own maintenance or repair tasks, they can save money doing it themselves. But certain tasks require getting on ladders or climbing into the attic which may be safely done by people with the mobility to handle this, while other homeowners may have diminished mobility and balance and need to stay off ladders and hire professionals to do the work. 

Another piece of advice on whether to perform a task on your own or hiring someone is if you have the skills to perform the task.  As an example, most people can learn how to use a caulking gun and tubes of caulk and thus can do these tasks themselves.  But if tasks require electrical, plumbing, or heating/cooling trades, these tend to require the skills to know how these systems in your home work. 

Accessing your roof to do repairs or chimney work is another example of something that is best to hire a contractor for both your own safety as well as the tools and skills required to patch or seal aspects of your roof.

How to Winterize Your Plumbing to Prevent Costly Repairs?

Issabel WilliamsIssabel Williams Plumbing expert at Fantastic Services. With 100+ home improvement services in its portfolio, Fantastic Services is the “one-stop-shop” for all home, office, and garden needs on three continents (Europe, USA, and Australia).

Tip 1. A common problem in the cold months is the freezing gas boiler condensing pipe. If this happens, the boiler's sensor will send false signals for blockages and prevent it from proper operation. You can save yourself from heating emergencies by using pipe insulations before the temperatures go lower.

Tip 2. Outdoor pipes are at high risk during the cold months, so to prevent costly damages due to burst pipes, turn off the water supply for your outdoor faucet and drain the pipes completely. If water remains inside, it will freeze, leading to blockages and higher pressure in the pipes that may eventually cause the pipe to burst or leak.

If your plumbing is installed on the outer walls, you may have serious problems. However, if the pipes are used regularly, so the water keeps their temperature constant, this may not be an issue. To prevent any outdoor plumbing problems, add insulation to the walls or around the pipes.

Tip 3. A good home winterizing routine is to call a professional to inspect the heating system while it's not under high pressure. The reason for this is quite simple - in the summertime, you are not using your boiler that much, but during the wintertime, it's prone to breakdowns which can be avoided by routinely checking.

Preparing Your Home for Winter Storms

Melanie MussonMelanie Musson Home insurance expert with Clearsurance.com, a customer-powered insurance marketplace that helps people save more when choosing the best insurance companies and products.

Tip 1. To prepare for a tornado or storm, you need to have an alternate power or heat source in case you lose electricity. Many people choose to purchase a backup generator to run their essential appliances like freezers and refrigerators. 

If you have a basement that requires a sump pump, you need to have a backup generator to keep it running. The same major storms that cause water buildup requiring a sump pump are the ones that often cause power outages. Backup power for a sump pump is essential to keeping your basement dry.

Tip 2. Keep your gutters clean so that water can flow effectively away from your house. Water backing up on your roof in a heavy storm may cause leaks. Water that builds up around your home instead of being diverted away by downspouts may cause foundation damage.

Tip 3. You should unscrew the hose from your outdoor spigot and drain water from the line that runs to the spigot. This step is crucial for outdoor faucets on the north side of the house where there is less sunlight to warm the house. If the pipe to the spigot freezes inside your house, you could get a broken pipe leading to significant water damage.

Tip 4. Hang insulated drapes, shades, or blinds on your windows. Open those window treatments when the sun is shining in so you can take advantage of its warmth. Then, shut them to keep drafts out and heat in when the sun isn’t shining in. 

Tip 5. Schedule an inspection for your heating unit before you need to use it. You do not want to be stuck with no heat when the temperature dips below freezing. Instead of waiting until there’s a problem, get your furnace inspected and serviced so it will run well all winter season. Proper winterization preparation directly reduces your risk of home insurance claims.

How Much Does It Cost to Winterize A House?

Adam GrahamAdam Graham Construction Industry Analyst at Fixr.com, a website that offers home remodeling cost-guides and connects homeowners with service professionals. Adam analyzes and writes about the home construction industry, interior design trends, and real estate.

Tip 1. Weatherstripping: One key winterizing project way to keep your house warmer during the winter months is to weatherstrip around the doors and windows. Weatherstripping reduces the warm air that can escape out through gaps. This results in a more energy-efficient home, so you won’t only save on bills, but your home should remain at a more comfortable temperature. 

The cost range of $5-$50 is a low-cost average of weatherstripping one door. The cost of weatherstripping depends on materials used, the type of door and windows, and the location. The national average to weatherstrip a 2000 sq. ft. home is around $350. 

Costs to winterize a house

Tip 2. Inspect Your Roof: Inspecting a roof can be done in one of two ways: Firstly, you can DIY inspect a roof by going into the attic and checking for leaks, or evidence that water has entered. You can also look from ground level to see if there are any obvious repairs needed, such as missing shingles. Alternatively, you can pay between around $100 and $600 to have a professional roof inspection. Checking for roof issues is a good idea before any storms make matters worse and repairs more costly. 

Tip 3. Put Up Storm Windows: Having your storm windows put up may pay off in the long term as they can, like weatherstripping, make your home more efficient. As well as stopping warm air from escaping, they can stop cold air from entering your home, especially when winds get up. Having a professional come and secure your storm windows costs roughly $100-$200. 

Tip. Clean the Gutters: One chore that shouldn’t be left out is cleaning out the gutters. Storms bring with them heavy rain and snow which can cause ice dams if the gutters aren’t clear. Trapped water can also lead to water leaks through walls and ceilings. The build-up of leaves and debris throughout the fall season requires, at minimum, a check-up of their state. For many, it is a DIY job. Whereas for others preferring a professional, gutter cleaning costs between $150 and $250 on average. 

Conclusion

By duly winterizing your home, you can lower the bills and ensure that the house stays warm and safe during the winter. The better part of preparations and repairs in your household, you can perform yourself following the above expert tips.

We thank our experts for sharing tips on winterizing. If you have any questions or thoughts, please leave your comments below. To share your experience on any service or company, you’re welcome to leave a review on PissedConsumer.com.

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