How To Winterize Your Home

               Here at the Lake of the Ozarks we are lucky enough to experience all four seasons in their entirety. While this makes the Lake unique, it also brings some challenges for maintaining your ho

me. You may have heard someone mention “winterizing” before and you probably nodded your head in agreement even though you were not exactly sure what your friends were talking about. Here at the Lake there are several different items you should winterize before the cold of winter sets in. Over the next few blogs we are going to suggest some simple things you can do that are fairly budget friendly to protect your investment in your homes and boats.

               Not many people consider winterizing a home; because they assume the cost does not outweigh the benefits. According the Department of Energy, “20%- 40% of an average American family’s energy bill is actually wasted through uncontrolled leakage, insufficient insulation, and failing ductwork.” (CBS) By properly weatherizing your home you not only save money on your energy bill, but you stay warm and comfortable in your home! Below are some steps to help you winterize your home. If your lake home is vacant during the winter months be sure to check our next blog for tips on how to winterize a vacant home!
Clean Out Your Gutters!

Many people clean their gutters out during the summer months, but don’t think about them too much once the rain stops and the leaves start to fall. However, clogged gutters can cause serious damage to your home in the winter that will eventually lead to an expensive repair. Have you ever seen really large icicles hanging off of homes? While they are pretty to look at, they are not good for house. When gutters are clogged it keeps the water from draining off the home, which forms the large ice pieces. The harm to your home happens when the snow begins to melt off your roof, and due to the large pieces of ice in your gutters the water cannot drain properly creating pools of water on and around the edges of your roof. Everyone knows sitting water can cause serious damage. The water breaks down your roof and can lead to an expensive repair later. Be proactive and enjoy the nice fall weather we have been having here at the Lake and clean the gutters out after all of the leaves have found their way to the ground.
Replace Furnace Filters!
Filters for a home’s heating and cooling system are very inexpensive. They usually cost about $10-$15 and can improve the efficiency of the furnace. There are many different sizes and types of filters including allergy reducing filters, so if your family struggles with allergies, this may be something you might want to check out and always be sure you get the right size filter for you unit. It is always good to get a certified technician to come and check out your homes furnace before you turn it on for the first time to ensure it is working properly and efficiently. This will cost around a $100, but in the long run the savings can be tremendous!
Fill In Gaps Around Windows!
As a house ages it is natural for a home to settle causing gaps around windows, siding, and doors. These gaps can let the cold outside air in the home. These gaps can be filled very easily with caulk. Caulk is also fairly inexpensive. You will want to buy a caulk gun if you do not already have one, so if you buy both it will cost about $15. That’s a small price to pay in order to eliminate drafts. If you need any instruction on how to apply the caulk around doors and windows be sure to read the directions on the tube before use, or follow the link below for some helpful hints. You can always check out your local home improvement store for more advice or classes.
Window Insulation!!
Window insulation is often seen as something very tacky that homeowners do to try to conserve energy. In reality when done right insulating your windows can help keep 55% of your homes heat inside, therefore reducing your heating cost significantly. (Lowes) I have shopped around to get some pricing on window insulation film and you can find it for 30-50 dollars per kit, but when compared to the 55% of the energy you are saving it could be well worth the investment. I am attaching a link below, be sure to follow the link for information on how to install a window film so your windows do not turn into the tacky windows you have previously seen. If you want to skip the window insulation you can redecorate your windows for the winter by adding heavy curtains around your window. Adding curtains is another way to curb energy cost and keep the cold out and the heat in. You can find insulating drapes at Wal-Mart, Target, and Kohl’s here at the Lake.
Give the AC Some TLC!
Since you are not going to be using your AC in the winter take the time to winterize it, this keeps your unit in good condition and increases the life of your AC unit. When winterizing an AC unit you want to think about water. First, start by draining any hoses or tubes that may have water in them, so they do not freeze and bust. While you are draining the tubes vacuum up any water that may be collected in the drain pan beneath the unit. Many people stop here, but if you want to prevent rust from forming on your unit, put a plastic cover on your unit. This will keep the elements off you AC and keep it running great for years to come which means more money in your pocket!
Use Ceiling Fans!
I’m sure most people do not consider using their ceiling fans to help keep their home warm in winter. I just learned that most ceiling fans have a switch on them that changes the direction the fan blades turn to clockwise opposed to counter clockwise. When fans turn in a clockwise motion they push the warm air down and re-circulate the warm air. Most modern day homes already have ceiling fans, so switch your fan to clockwise and start saving money on heating cost.

Trim Your Trees!
This winterization tip will not help keep your energy cost down, but it will help protect your home when the freezing rain and snow comes here at the Lake of the Ozarks. When tree branches get long they get weak, so when the freezing rain and snow come tree branches snap under the added weight of snow and ice. Often times when branches snap they damage homes, cars, and electric lines. So my advice is to be proactive and get rid of any unruly tree branches around your home. This will save much time and effort in the long run.

I hope these winterizing tips will help keep your energy cost down and keep your family safe when the cold sets in here in Missouri. All of the information was gathered from these links; please follow these links for additional winterizing tips! Be sure to stick around for our next blog, because we are going to talk about how to winterize a vacant home! As always thanks for letting us be Your Partners at the Lake!  

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