All right, so who is ready for winter? Most likely, no one. Except for those of you who “like” winter (I’m exceedingly skeptical that you people are actually telling the truth).
Despite our most adamant efforts to avoid winter, it will be upon us before you know it.
But why am I killing your summertime buzz with this winter talk? Because summer is the perfect time to begin winterizing your home/apartment—and your wallet will thank you for the forethought and commitment to planning ahead. Here are three things you can do to get started.
1. Set Up A Home Energy Audit
If you’re looking to save some money this winter, you might want to begin with a home energy assessment or audit. Many states even offer a free assessment along with rebates or incentives if you decide to upgrade your heating, add insulation, etc. We had an energy assessment when we first moved into our home. Although we didn’t take advantage of any offers, we still got a free programmable thermostat … not too shabby.
Why do this in the summer? For starters, many solutions help with heating and cooling your home. Also, if you do decide to upgrade, starting in the summer provides more lead-time. Not to mention, a lot of people wait until the first signs of winter to take action, which could make it more difficult (and costly) to find someone to complete the work. Beat the crowd.
2. Consider Alternative Heating Options
Like many older New England homes, our house’s primary heating source is oil—a costly (and dirty) option. Last winter, my wife and I began researching alternative heating options, and we landed on inserting a pellet stove insert into our fireplace (which, ironically, is another heat “drain”).
While the initial upfront cost is high (anywhere from $2,000-$4,500, depending on the stove), operation and maintenance are very reasonable. Depending on how long you plan on staying in your home/apartment, your current heating source, and (of course) where you live, you could expect to see a return on investment in as little as 3 years.
Since the beginning of summer, we’ve noticed prices for these stoves dropping, as companies try to clear way for new inventory. This also put us in a great negotiating position.
3. Don’t Overlook House “Projects”
I put projects in quotes mainly because I love using quotes, but also because some of these aren’t your traditional, large-scale “projects” (see, there I go again). Quick fixes are important to maximize your winter savings. For instance, cleaning the filter in your furnace. No doubt a dirty job, but the yearly maintenance is necessary (especially after a long winter) to ensure it runs efficiently. And an efficient furnace is a less expensive one.
Or how about insulating your water pipes? Energy.gov, which has illustrated instructions for this easy job, estimates that homeowners who spend $10 to $15 and 3 hours insulating pipes on a small home will save $8 to $12 a year in energy costs.
So while you are wasting away in Margaritaville this summer, remember to channel some inner resolve and ask yourself “WWBVD”?
Do you plan on getting ready for winter early? Let us know in the comments!