Keeping your home warm and cozy during the winter months takes some forethought. If you don’t prepare, you could struggle to keep your home at a comfortable temperature throughout the season, which can quickly lead to an increase in your energy bill as you attempt to compensate for drafty areas in your home.
If you have spent considerable time in a cold or even just cool climate, you know how vital good insulation is. Drafty windows and doors can let the cold air into your house. Your roof, attic, basement, walls, and floors might let cold air seep through them.
Let’s look at five ways to help winterize your home so you can stay warm and save money this winter and how you can finance this project.
1. Install Energy-Efficient Windows
You can’t have a list of ways to winterize your home without discussing the importance of installing energy-efficient windows. This change can significantly impact the amount of heat you use in the coming months.
That said, the two most important factors in how an energy-efficient window performs are the R-value and thermal break. The R-value measures how well the window prevents heat flow through it, while the thermal break is the clear space between the two panes of glass. The larger the thermal break, the more effective the window will be at insulating your home.
2. Repair Leaky Areas
You may have noticed some leaky areas in your walls and ceilings. This is a common problem in many older homes and can make it difficult to keep your home warm during winter. With some repair, however, you can reduce the amount of warm air escaping from your walls and ceilings.
You can use products like caulk and joint compound to seal the leaks in your home. Caulk is a good choice for smaller areas that need to be sealed. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, so you can pick one that will work with the overall look of your home. Caulk is easy to work with and can be removed if you need to repair the area in the future.
A joint compound is a good choice for larger areas that must be sealed. Like caulk, joint compound comes in a variety of colors so you can match the color of your walls
3. Add Interior Foam Insulation
Spray foam is a great way to add insulation to your walls, attic, ceilings, and roof and reduce the amount of cold air that seeps through. This process involves coating inside your walls and other vulnerable areas with a thick layer of foam specifically designed to insulate your home. Adding interior foam is relatively easy, and the benefits will last for many years.
To achieve this, you need to purchase a foam sealant gun and a spray foam can. Spray the foam sealant in the walls and so forth of your home, covering any spaces that might be letting cold air inside. This will actually benefit your home during both summer and winter.
4. Upgrade Heating Equipment
How old is your furnace? Like any household appliance, normal wear and tear can make your furnace less efficient and prone to breakdowns. This can lead to issues maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home, higher energy bills, expensive repairs, and even the possibility of losing your heat when you need it most. Upgrading to a new furnace could solve all these problems and more.
With modern technologies and requirements, any new furnace is going to be more efficient than your old furnace, immediately saving you money on your energy bills. You can even go a step further and install an energy-efficient furnace, which comes with even greater savings and tax benefits. Plus, a new furnace is also less likely to need major repairs or to break down.
To make sure your new furnace is installed correctly so you can get the most benefit from it, hire a professional HVAC contractor to do the installation.
5. Get an Energy Audit
Another great way to prepare your house for winter is by getting an energy audit. It will help you find out if there are any areas in your home that are losing energy. This is an excellent service for homeowners who want to make sure their homes are insulated correctly or simply want to fix any issues.
You should call in a professional specializing in energy efficiency to conduct the inspection. Afterward, you’ll know what upgrades could really heighten home’s comfort this winter.
How to Pay for Winterizing Your Home
Winterizing projects can be a valuable way to save money over the colder months and beyond. But large home improvements, such as replacing windows or installing a new furnace, can have a high initial price, depending on the products you use and whether you DIY or hire a professional to complete the work. This might leave you wondering how you’re going to pay for winterizing your home. The truth is, you might already have the cash you need in your home. Or, more specifically, in your home equity.
Home equity is the amount of your home’s value that you own outright. That dollar amount can be found by subtracting what you owe on your home from its full value.
As a homeowner, there are a number of ways you can access this equity to invest back into your home. A cash-out refinance, for instance, allows you to refinance your current mortgage with a new, larger mortgage that borrows from your equity. That money from your equity is paid to you in cash and can be used immediately.
A home equity loan is similar except that you take out a separate loan to borrow the amount you need from your home’s equity, rather than replacing your first mortgage.
If you’re not sure exactly how much you’ll need and don’t want to pay interest on a full loan, a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a great option for homeowners. A HELOC works a little like a credit card. You have a spending limit that you can borrow from, taking out as much or as little as you need. During the borrowing period, you only pay interest on what you’ve borrowed, and you can repay it and borrow it again.
Ready to Winterize?
Winterizing your home can have a huge benefit on both the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. And while these projects may mean investing a little money up front, the right upgrades are sure to save you money in the long run.
If you have questions about how to pay for winterizing your home using your home equity, contact the experts at Solarity Credit Union. Based in Washington State, they know a thing or two about how to stay warm during the winter months—and about utilizing the money you’ve already invested in your home to make your home even better. Talk to a Solarity Home Loan Guide today to discuss your options.