Skip to main content

Do these 10 things to prepare your home for winter weather

Autumn is a beautiful season full of gorgeous landscapes and cute knit sweaters. It’s also a season that gives your pocketbook a break when it comes to your home’s energy bill since you’re in that sweet spot between running your cooling system on high and turning on the heat. Take advantage of this time to prepare your home for the coming cold so that it’s as energy efficient as possible when winter rolls around. Snowfalls and freezing temperatures are around the corner, but your heating bill doesn’t have to skyrocket. Do these ten tasks to prepare your home for winter and soften the blow of those steep energy bills.

house with red front door in winter
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Inspect and repair your furnace

Your furnace hasn’t been used for many months, so give it a once over to be sure it’s in good working condition. You don’t want to learn that your heating system is broken during the first freezing day of the year.

Replacing the furnace filters on your own is a great first step, but we recommend also calling in a professional to thoroughly inspect the furnace, give it a tune-up, and make any necessary repairs to make it more energy-efficient. Nothing puts dollar signs on your heating bill like a furnace that’s not properly operating.

Insulate your water heater and hot water pipes

As your water warms and travels through the pipes, heat can escape during its journey, causing your water heater to work harder and use more energy. Insulate your water heater by wrapping it in a heat-safe blanket that you can purchase at your local hardware store. Wrap your pipes with special pipe-insulating sleeves made of rubber foam to keep the water in the pipes nice and hot.

Insulate your attic

Heat rises, so if your attic is poorly insulated, the heat in your home will easily escape, and your energy bill will certainly show it. Before the temperature drops too low, check your attic for drafts and cool air coming through the walls. If you feel significant drafts, install some insulating foam to keep the warm air inside.

Check your windows and doors for drafts

Heat also tends to escape through poorly insulated windows and doors. Even if they’re closed, gaps and cracks in the panes and moldings release that much-needed heat. Feel around your windows and outside doors for drafts and locate any areas that need extra insulation. Caulk any gaps, both inside and outside, to prevent warm air from slipping away.

Install storm windows

If you don’t already have storm windows, fall is the time to install them. Storm windows provide an extra layer of insulation to prevent your heat from escaping. This project is easy to do on your own and doesn’t necessarily require help from a professional unless you have especially large or custom windows.

Winter outside through french doors in white living room
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Change to winter-appropriate window treatments

Again, your windows allow a lot of heat to escape, whether it’s through cracks in the moldings or the thin, uninsulated glass. Thick, heavy curtains or insulating blinds are great ways to trap warm air inside.

Switch ceiling fans to winter mode

Since heat rises, your ceiling fans pull air up while they’re in summer mode, pushing cool air down below where bodies are. In the winter, you want to keep this warm air so you can stay toasty warm. Switch your ceiling fans over to winter mode, reversing the rotation of the blades. This will push warm air down instead of pulling it up, leading to a warmer living space and lower heating bills.

Install a smart thermostat

Smart thermostats are extraordinarily convenient. You can program one to automatically go into eco-mode and reduce the indoor temperature while you’re at work, on vacation, or sleeping. There’s nothing worse than returning home after a long day and realizing the heat was blasting on high the whole time. Some smart thermostats can even lower the temperature in areas of your home that you’re not using. So, if you work from home, for example, it can turn down the temperature in the whole house except for your home office, saving you a bundle on heating costs.

Insulate electrical outlets

Surprisingly, heat can slip out of a room through the electrical outlets, particularly if they’re on an exterior wall. Prevent this energy drain by insulating your outlets with rubber foam outlet gaskets to block any gaps or cracks.

Unblock heating vents

Your heat may be cranking and adding dollars to your heating bill, but if the vent is blocked, you’ll never feel the warmth. Take a look around every room in your home and be sure all heating vents are cleaned up and not blocked by furniture, pictures, or other obstructive items.

Winter is certainly coming, and your heating bill will inevitably be higher than you’d like it to be. You can give your wallet a break this year by winterizing your home and keeping more of that much-needed heat inside. With these ten tasks, your home will be comfortable and energy-efficient, just in time for winter weather.

Editors' Recommendations

Veronica Sparks
Veronica Sparks is a writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who loves writing about gardening, home décor, and DIY life. She’s…
6 times you should absolutely choose an eggshell paint finish
Is eggshell paint the perfect finish for your project? Here is when the answer is 'yes'
Couple posing with paint rollers in front of painted white wall

A home remodel is always an exciting project. It's a thrill to be able to reimagine a room and give it a modern, stylish facelift that matches your interior design vision perfectly. Part of the remodeling process, however, is the inevitable task of repainting the space.

While picking out a paint color and a paint brand may seem like a simple choice, there are a lot of variables to consider. One variable is the type of paint finish you need for the space. There are so many varieties of paint finishes -- including matte, flat, high-gloss, and eggshell -- all with different appearances and benefits. To help you out, we're going to discuss six scenarios when you should definitely go with an eggshell paint finish.
What is eggshell paint and why is it unique?
Among all the types of paint finishes, there are a few things that make eggshell stand out. The level of glossy reflectiveness it gives off, also known as its "sheen," is moderate, somewhere between the low-gloss finish of flat paints and the super reflective sheen of high or semi-gloss paint. This means eggshell paint can offer the best of both worlds: It covers imperfections on the surface well, similar to flat paint, but it also brings a bit more color depth, much like higher-gloss finishes.

Read more
Why your home should have an areca palm (and how to care for it)
Tips for properly caring for an indoor areca palm plant
Decorative areca palm

Your aesthetic indoor plants should reflect your unique style, and they should integrate seamlessly with your home's decor. Indoor palms are a joy for anyone wanting to bring a piece of the greenery from warmer climates into their interior design. If you're looking for a bold, tropical addition to your indoor space, an areca palm is a perfect choice. With their substantial height and sharp, feathery foliage, these palms add a fresh and bright statement to any room. Let's talk about the benefits of growing an areca palm in your home and how to care for this gorgeous plant properly.
Can an areca palm grow indoors?
While they can get substantially taller when planted outdoors, areca palms can still grow pretty well and actually make for fantastic indoor plants, reaching heights between six and seven feet tall. They'll grow between six to ten inches every year until they reach their mature height. Then these plants can last up to a decade indoors. You can limit the size of your areca palm by housing it in a planter that keeps it root-bound.

Benefits of having an areca palm indoors
Not only does this tall indoor plant bring aesthetic design and a mood-lifting splash of the tropics into your home, but it also offers numerous health benefits. This attractive palm can improve indoor air quality by removing toxins and adding humidity to the air, which is great if your indoor air tends to be a bit dry. Caring for a living thing like this palm is also a mood booster in itself.

Read more
6 popular paint colors for basements that will brighten your home’s dungeon
Say goodbye to your dark basement and add one of these hues to brighten your space
Finished basement seating area with white walls and carpet

Whether you have a finished basement or one that's barely livable, your basement probably doesn't have a whole lot of natural light. While there are other ways to brighten this space (proper lighting, for one), the paint color you choose for your basement will make or break the space.  The right shade can enhance the basement, making it appear larger, and can also contribute to an overall happy, comfortable atmosphere your friends and family will love. But what hues are best for these often dark and dingy spaces? Today, we're sharing some popular paint colors for basements that will help brighten up the space.

With a fresh coat of paint and a few well-chosen pieces of decor, your basement will no longer be just a drab laundry room or overflow storage space. These are the popular paint colors for basements we love, and we think you will too.
What color paint goes in a basement?
The right color for your basement greatly depends on the amount of natural light available. For homeowners with windowless basements, you'll want to lean into cooler tones, brighter hues, and colors that aren't too bold. Whites, pale blues, and cool-toned grays will help brighten the space and lift the atmosphere, even if you only have artificial lighting.

Read more