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24 Ways To Winter-proof Your Home
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24 Ways To Winter-proof Your Home

It is that time of the year when we love to sleep a little longer under the warm blankets or warm our hands by the fireside. Winter is really tough in North India with mercury plummeting down to very low levels. Room heaters and ornate fireplaces look very romantic, it's true. However, it is not an affordable option for many. Don't lose heart; there are several other options to winter-proof your home in a cost effective and unconventional way.

These winter-proofing options are innovative and user-friendly. Here are some simple budget-friendly techniques to keep your house warm in the winter.

· Seal The Cracks: The first and most important step to prepare the house for the winter is to check for cracks in the exterior walls of the house. Seal them before the winter arrives. Otherwise, melted ice water can seep in and destroy the insulation. Seal the cracks that appear on the walls, doors and windows to eliminate drafts. Always use water-resistant seals on the building exteriors. Weatherproof paints can also help to seal cracks that appear on the outside of the building.

· Block The Draft: The cold drafts are responsible for the huge sum you pay as an electric bill every month. Just place a rolled towel under the door or you can make a cute 'draft snake' at home. You can also use other fabrics and fill it up with sand; place it under the door to keep draft at bay.

· Keep Furnace Filters Clean: Clean or replace furnace filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy consumption. You can use disposable fiberglass filters or electrostatic filters to reduce debris, bacterial contamination and energy consumption. It is best if you can invest in an efficient furnace, since this will help to cut down costs.

· Stow Away Pipes: Drain hoses and air conditioner pipes so that there is no excess water inside the equipment. If your air conditioner has a switch off water valve, then just turn it off. Also turn off exterior water units to prevent leakage.

· Keep Windows Insulated: Install a window insulation kit to create a buffer against the cold winds. A 'low-e' film can be directly attached to the window glass. The high tech window insulation kit is easily available in hardware stores and it helps to keeps your house warm.

· Keep Pipes Insulated: Insulating pipes can prevent it from freezing, the result of which can be disastrous. Touch the pipes to see if they are warm, if yes, then it is well-insulated. You can stick pre-slit pipe foam on the pipes by using duct tapes. Choose the insulation with the highest R-value practical, which is a measurement of its heat-blocking capacity.

· Seal the Ducts: Warm or cool air often escapes through ducts, it is very important to seal the ducts. A well-sealed duct can lower the energy consumption drastically. It is vital that you invest time and money to keep the ducts well serviced and clean.

· Keep Attics Insulated: If you have an attic or storeroom at home insulate it properly, since heated air rises up and can escape through a poorly insulated attic. You can use rolls of fiberglass insulation with paper backing to insulate the attic.

· Close the rooms that are not in use: It is best to confine the areas that don't require any heating. This will also help to save energy.

· Clean the Wood Burning Stove: If you have a wood burning stove at home then get it serviced by a professional, also make sure the chimney is clean too. Do this before the winter sets in. Never use a charcoal stove to heat up the house; it's a recipe for disaster.

· Insulate the Electrical Outlets: If there are electric outlets on the outer walls of the building it is best to install an outlet gasket. These gaskets will prevent the draft from entering the house.

· Use Double Paned Windows: Double or triple paned windows can keep your house warm in the winter. If you don't have double paned windows use a winter plastic wrap and weather tape. Cut a plastic wrap with a knife to fit it in the window frame. Then stick the plastic wrap inside the window frame with a weather tape and shrink it by applying heat with a hair dryer. A rubber weather sealing can also help to insulate the windows. Cellular shades can be attached to the window to provide insulation. These shades are a great option for those who love the mellowed winter light to enter their homes. You can also use the fun to pop bubble sheets as an insulating material for your windows.

· Clean Rain Gutters: Once the autumn is over and the last leaves have fallen, start cleaning the rain gutters. The dirt which blocks the rain gutters can create an ice dam on the roof. You can seek professional help to clean the rain gutters, this will ensure the melted ice water will fall from the roof directly into the drains below.

· Keep Exterior Vents Closed: If there are any outside vents to your house close them once it starts getting cold.

· Change Direction Of The Fan : Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan to circulate warm air.

· Use Heavy Curtains: Heavy or thick fabrics and layered curtains can help to keep out drafts. You can match the color scheme of the curtains with the home decor to brighten up the interiors.

· Keep The Garage Door Shut: It is very tough to keep the garage warm, especially if your garage happens to be the area where people are constantly moving in and out. Keep the garage door shut to prevent the cold air from entering the house. Make sure you keep the garage doors and windows insulated.

· Make Less Use Of The Fireplace: You will be surprised to know that a fireplace is a useless heating system, since 90% of the fire's energy is lost through the open flue or chimney. A roaring fireplace can only provide warmth if you sit near it. However, if you are planning to use the fireplace then turn down your thermostat first. It is best to avoid using the fireplace if it is not that cold outside.

· Keep the Garden Hose Dry : Drain the water from the garden hoses and keep them in a warm place. This will prevent the water from freezing which weakens the lining of the pipe.

· Use Doormat At The Entrance: Place a rough textured doormat at the entrance. This will prevent the moisture and dirt from destroying your polished wood floors.

· Install Heat Tapes For The Roof Edges: If there is heavy snowfalls at the place you reside make sure you use heat tapes in the edges of the roof and in the gutters to prevent ice from forming. All you need is an outdoor electrical outlet for the heat tape to function.

· Keep the Plants Indoor: Bring all the potted plants inside the house. If the plants are infected then treat them first before you bring them inside the house.

· Use Carpets And Extra Blankets: Use rugs, mats or carpets on the floor. Use an extra layer of blanket on the bed to make it cozier. Adding bright colors to your upholstery can cheer you up when the weather outside is cold and depressing.

· Clean the Snow: If there is heavy snow fall in your area then make sure you keep the snow away from the doors, windows, steps and the drive way. Keeping the place dry and clean prevents molds from forming. Also keep the ice from settling in the edge of the roofs. Get professional help if necessary.

You can use these winter-proofing techniques not just in North India but also in other parts of India during severe winters. Now you have a reason to smile, even if the weather turns really cold. Just give these simple methods of winter proofing a try, it will surely save your money and make your worries vanish. Snuggle up inside a blanket with a mug of steaming coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy the winter!

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