When it comes to prepping your home for winter while keeping costs down, prevention is the best medicine (and maintenance). Here are some items you should replace in your home now, to ensure you’re on track for a season of drama-free homeownership.
FIBER IN THE ATTIC
If there isn’t enough insulation in your attic, naturally rising hot air will leak, increasing energy usage – and costs! For optimal energy savings, check to ensure you have at least 15 centimetres of insulation; if not, install more now before temperatures plummet.
Immediate Cost: A bag of fiberglass insulation costs around $50. Also consider calling in a pro for a free estimate.
Future Loss: An uninsulated attic can account for 25 per cent of heat loss, which adds up over a long winter.
A programmable thermostat lets you schedule the temperature of your home depending on time of day – even when you’re not there. Drop it a few degrees while you’re asleep or at work, and turn it up during weekend Netflix marathons, all without doing a thing.
Immediate Cost: Thermostats run from about $100 to $350.
Future Loss: There’s no need to throw away money every month on heat you’re not using. Invest in a smart thermostat now and save 10 to 15% on heating bills.
Unsealed windows and doors are among the biggest culprits of heat loss in a home; accounting for 25 per cent. So, grab that caulking gun and get going on weather-stripping doorways and filling cracks with waterproof silicone.
Immediate cost: A very cheap fix, with materials cost about $25.
Future Loss: Seal and save up to 3% on your annual energy bill.
BREAK THE MOULD
When it comes to preventing mould, mildew and major leakage in the home, moisture is enemy number one. Check that all pipes and hoses under sinks and at the back of the water-wilding appliances are dry. Prevent small leaks now is the best way to protect against cataclysmic water damage later.
Immediate Cost: Free if handled-in-house, although you may need to call a plumber if there’s an interior downpour.
Future Loss: Replacing a section of drywall now ($200) is a much better scenario than replacing a wall ($4,000) a year from now.
It takes gutters
Cracked or backed-up gutters can send overflowing water running down walls, rot wooden shingles or head straight into the foundation. Walk the perimeter for your home and confirm all troughs are in good shape and where they should be. If a section isn’t up to snuff, replace it now or pay later.
Immediate Cost: Free if you opt for a DIY job, but be sure you’re steady on a ladder. If not, call your local gutter experts for a free quote before the rain starts to pour.
Future Loss: Fixing water damage to the roof, walls and foundation could cost thousands down the road – an unpleasant surprise come time for inspection.
For more ways to prepare your house for winter and save money at the same time, visit HGTV.ca.