If you live in Canada, he’s probably tapping his frosty fingers at your window. His calling card? The icicles hanging from your eavestroughs and the sudden chill in your living room.
Many of us find refuge in blankets and chunky sweaters as we binge-watch our favourite shows, but layers aren’t the only way you’ll survive the season. Your home needs to be prepared properly for the sub-zero temperatures and mountains of snow. If you don’t winterize now, frozen pipes and expensive utility bills will wake you from your wintertime hibernation before you can get comfy.
It’s not a fun task, nor is it cheap, but if you use this guide you can keep your annual winterization within budget.
Insulate Your Windows
If your windows fog up with steam anytime you touch your oven, then you could be leaking a lot of hot air from your homes. In its place, cold air is seeping into your living spaces and forcing your furnace to work harder and longer. It already has enough to contend with, so don’t let your windows make its job any worse than it has to be.
Take the time at the beginning of the season to assess your windows, checking its weatherstripping for any damages. If you see any holes or cracks, fill these fissures with caulking. If they’re particularly bad, you may have to replace the stripping entirely.
Move back inside to check the interior of your windows. Single-paned windows will leach leech cold air, so double- or triple- paned glass is far better suited for Canadian winters. If you know your windows are thin or original to your house, it may be time to upgrade.
That’s quite an investment, so until you set aside some savings, you can always install insulating plastic on your windows. This plastic forms another barrier between your rooms and the outdoors by trapping air against the glass. It’s simple to install and you can find these kits for a reasonable price at most hardware stores.
Prepare Your Furnace
The winter are your heater’s busy months, so you need to make sure this appliance is ready for a season of heavy lifting. Schedule a furnace inspection with an appliance technician to see if it’s up to the task.
Unfortunately, every appliance has a lifespan, and if your furnace is nearing its expiry, you may need to invest in significant repairs. You may even need to replace it, regardless of your financial situation. You can’t exactly live through the worst of the winter without proper heating.
Your technician should let you know about any lay-away programs his or her company offers. They should also be able to point you in the direction of government assistance. Both federal and provincial governments have tax credits and rebates if you choose an energy efficient replacement.
The only thing about rebates: you get the cash back only after you’ve made the purchase. That doesn’t solve the issue of not having enough savings to cover this upgrade in the first place. If you find yourself caught between your furnace and your rebate, a direct lender can help you bridge the gap. Take the time to learn how short term loans work from these lenders. They’re a great way of solving cash shortages when you know you’ll have the money to repay them soon, so you can make a necessary upgrade while you wait for a rebate.
Winter preparedness can cost money, but if you’re careful, the small upgrades you make to your windows and furnace will pay off — literally. More efficient windows and appliances can save you as much as 15 percent on your utility bills each month.
Take the time to invest in the season and winterize your home properly. Your windows and furnace are only the beginning. You can find simple chores all over the house to help you greet Old Man Winter with confidence.