Goodspeed: More tips for getting your home ready for winter


Last week, in response to new homeowners about to go through their first winter in their new home, I suggested several winterization tips from cleaning their furnace to eliminating drafts and insulating pipes. Here are some more ideas:

Be sure to pick up all outdoor furniture on decks and around the lawn. Store them safely in a garage or basement.

Remember to empty flower boxes and containers and store them away. Cut back perennials and trim any dead tree limbs that could snap or cause problems during a snowstorm. Mark edges of driveways and walkways with reflective markers for the plow.

Remove window air conditioners. Also make sure any outside hoses are drained and stowed away neatly. Turn off exterior water spigots.

While you are insulating your pipes and hot water heater, check the water temperature and lower it to 130 degrees Fahrenheit or even 120 degrees. Often, installers set them to 140 degrees. Lowering the temperature a few degrees can save you money.

Similarly, lowering your thermostat a few degrees can save hundreds of dollars. For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you will save an estimated 1 to 3 percent of your heating bill.

You can make it even easier, by installing a programmable thermostat that will automatically raise and lower your home’s temperature even if you forget. Programmable thermostats are widely available for less than $100, and can save you hundreds on your heating bill.

Run ceiling fans in reverse. Most people think of turning on their fans when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes the room warmer by circulating warm air pooled near the ceiling back into the living space which can lower your heating costs.

Take advantage of energy tax credits. These tax credits change, so make sure you check to see what is available.

Finally, put on a sweater!

Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: