How to Draft-Proof and Winterize Your Home

The days are getting shorter, the rain is starting to fall and all of a sudden, you realize that the temperature is about to drop significantly. For a lot of homes—especially older ones—that means fighting drafts to keep your heating bills reasonable.

When you’re ready to winterize your Seattle home, there are a few basic things you can do to keep your family warm all season long. Read on to learn our best tips and tricks:

  • Take care of the drafts: Your heater can’t do a good job if your home is drafty, so the first thing you need to do is draft-proof your home. There’s a multitude of options available, from weather stripping to window snakes. Caulking and draft guards can also help. To find where the cold air is coming in, light a stick of incense and slowly move it near each wall (with the fans and air conditioner/heater off). When the smoke is disturbed, you’ve found the draft—now address it accordingly.
  • Insulate the windows: Your windows might be contributing to your home’s drafts and cooler temperatures. One way to solve this is to hang thick, heavy drapes (which will also keep your home cooler on hot days). Alternatively, you can buy insulated window film that will not only keep out harmful UV light, but also prevent heat from escaping through the windows.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans: The direction of your ceiling fans can be reversed to help send warm air (which rises) back down to the ground. This will help keep you feeling warm, and combat any drafts that you can’t quite fix.
  • Pay attention to your water lines: Your water lines also need to be winterized. Drain your sprinkler systems, shut off exterior faucets and disconnect your water hoses. Any water in the lines can freeze and crack the pipes.
  • Flush your water heater: This is a good time to drain your water heater of the sediment and particles that collect at the bottom of the tank. (That is, unless you enjoy cold showers in the winter.)
  • Change your air filters: Before you turn on the heater for the first time this season, take a minute to change your HVAC unit’s air filters.
  • Seal the chimney: Try a fireplace draft stopper to keep cold air from entering your home when you’re not using your fireplace.
  • Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat is a great way to save on energy and keep your home as comfortable as possible. For every degree you lower your home’s temperature, you’ll save about 1 percent on your bill.
  • Clean the gutters: Finally, make sure you clean out your gutters before the hard rains set in—the last thing you want to have to do is deal with water damage when your home is already chilly.

When you’re winterizing your Seattle home, make sure to stop by Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. We’ll help you get the supplies you need to stay warm and comfortable no matter the weather outside.

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