Winter Worries: 5 Ways Maintain Your Property and Keep Costs Down During the Winter

. By: David Illes

“Oh the weather outside is frightful!”

How many of you just read that line in Dean Martin’s voice? Even with the holidays behind us, I’m willing to bet the old King of Cool must have been thinking about this time of year when he first crooned that winter classic. Don’t believe me? Take a stroll outside and tell me if that first gust of cold wind doesn’t make you feel otherwise. It’s inevitable, no matter how much we wish for warmer weather, winter just seems to keep going and going. While we can’t wish the cold months away, here are some decisions that home owners and tenants can make to insure the best interests of their property as well as their wallets.

  1. “The fire is so delightful”…Get your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.

    Before you cozy up next to that roaring fire with your loved ones make sure you contact a chimney professional for a thorough inspection and cleaning. The National Fire Protection Association says “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” So remember before you can enjoy that delightful fire, take precautionary steps and have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.

  2. “It doesn’t show signs of stopping”…Find and seal leaks.

    While the cold may not stop on demand, there are steps you can take to at least slow the leak of cold air into your home. First things first, check the seals around your windows to make sure that their integrity is intact. The best course of action is to caulk the outside perimeter of your drafty windows and then use weather-stripping to seal the window’s interior. However, if you rent your home these options may not be allowed per the owner or management, luckily there are also affordable window insulator kit options online that are easy to install. To slow the leak of cold air around your doors the most affordable option would be to purchase a draft snake or make one yourself. Draft snakes or draft stoppers, are an easy and cost effective way to prevent cold drafts from entering your home. Just place one in front of the bottom of a door where cold air could potentially enter, and before you know it you’ll start to feel the difference.

  3. “Since we’ve no place to go” …Pay attention to your thermostat.

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy “in a 24-hour period you can save as much as 3 percent on your heating bill for every 1 degree that you lower the thermostat setting. When you are home try setting your thermostat as low as comfortably possible. For some people warmer temperatures might be necessary but the standard temperature recommendation is between 65° and 70°. When you get ready to go to bed at night or when you anticipate being out of the house try setting your thermostat back. Before you know it you will begin to see the difference in your heating bill.

  4. “How I’ll hate going out in the storm” …Re-stock your salt supply and ice melt before any mention of a storm.

    Once the ice, sleet, or snow begins to fall it’s simply too late. Not to mention right before a storm the shelves of every store are completely picked clean. This is where a little pro-active preparation can save a huge headache. Keep a steady supply of both salt and ice melt (don’t forget the pet friendly stuff if you own pets!) A little preparation goes along way, and in this case it could potential prevent slips and falls, so don’t go out into the storm, beat the rush instead.

  5. “All the way home, I’ll be warm” …Reverse your ceiling fans

    Now this may sound counter intuitive, but if your ceiling fan has a reverse switch (usually located on the fan itself) then you should probably start running your fan in reverse when it’s chilly out. Running your fan in reverse will push down the warm air that rises to your ceiling creating a nice warming effect. Counter intuitive? Counter revolution? Who cares as long as it keeps you warm! (Just don’t forget to set it back to normal come summer!)

Try your best to stay warm during these chilly months, and hopefully with these tips you will be able to maintain your property and save a little extra money in the process. But if you are still cold after all of these suggestions, put on a sweater, hold a loved one tight and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.