Empower Sustainability

Winterizing Your Home

Winter Cabin
Written by Jessika Firmage

It’s that time of year again.  Our temperatures in the mornings have been in the 20’s, and the wood burning stove has been put to use on a daily basis.  The enormous piles of wood are collecting in the yard, waiting to be split and stacked.  Yesterday, I picked up my flip flops and Chacos from the little spot of floor next to the front door where they have lived since May, and threw them in the closet upstairs.  In some ways I am sad to see summer and autumn pass, and in many ways I look forward to winter.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, and that makes me SO happy!

It is a lot of work to prepare for winter, especially living in the mountains.  Our only source of heat is our wood burning stove, and it takes all summer long to cut down enough dead trees up in the mountains to produce enough wood to get us through until May.  Compound that with the fact that our house isn’t exactly “air tight”, and it makes for some very chilly winter days.  We often wear beanies and jackets inside the house.

Now is the time to prepare your home for winter, regardless of its location…unless you are lucky enough to live in Hawaii! Here are some great ideas to help winterize your home, in turn saving money AND energy.

  • Have your furnace serviced, and replace the air filters regularly.

  • Replace the battery in your carbon monoxide detector, if you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector…GET ONE TODAY!  I cannot stress the importance of this affordable life saving device enough.

  • While you are replacing the battery in your carbon monoxide detectors, you might as well replace them in your smoke detectors as well.  Buy extra batteries. Set a reminder in your phone for 6 months out, to replace them again.

  • Install foam insulating gaskets behind your outlet covers.  This is extremely simple to do.  Any mom can pull this off, and while the kids are napping, or even awake for that matter.

  • Install plastic window insulation, which is essentially shrink wrap for your windows.  Also very easy to do.

  • Cover your water heater with an insulating water heater blanket.

  • Sew a draft stopper or “draft snake” for your doors.

  • Run ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which will push the heat down from the ceiling.

  • Turn down the thermostat on your water heater.  120 degrees is plenty hot, and is safer for children too!

  • Turn down your thermostat for your furnace and wear more clothes.  Don’t forget to turn your heat WAY down when you leave for work or school for the day.  If no one is going to be home, why waste energy to heat the house?

  • Caulk around window frames and door frames, and install weather stripping where needed.

  • Bake.

  • Bundle up.

As you can see, there are many things each of us can do to improve our heating efficiency, save energy, save money, and stay toasty!


About the author

Jessika Firmage