Yesterday was the first snow of the season, here in Windsor-Essex county. So we thought it would be fitting to discuss 7 Winter Prep Tips for you to do if you’re behind the game.

Ready? Here we go…

1.       Fill the gaps!

We discussed this a few weeks ago in our blog post “9 Ways to Warm Up the Bedroom Without Running the Heat.”

If your windows (or doors) have gaps or leaks, your warm air will leak to the outside, wasting your money and leaving you cold! It’s good practice to check all your windows and doors that open to the outside.

If you have small cracks, acrylic or latex caulking is a simple way to fix it. Use spray-foam insulation to fill larger holes.

Install a door sweep to seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the threshold to prevent the cold air from sneaking in or you can try a decorative door draft stopper.

2.       Weatherproof your windows.

If your windows rattle and have visible gaps, this is a sign that you have air leaks. Although it seems pretty simple, one of the biggest mistakes people make in the winter is forgetting to lock their windows after they close them.

Tom Silva, star of “this old house” is quoted saying, “That lock is meant to do two things. It’s meant to push the window down and up against the window sill and the head jamb. It’s also meant to adhere the two sashes at the center of the window together, and that tightens up the window on the top, bottom, and middle. A little crack makes a big difference.”

You can also apply plastic to the windows and patio doors for an easy, effective solution to prevent unwanted drafts. Window insulation kits come with a clear window wrap and adhesive. You simply size the film, leave a few inches on each side. Clean the window frame before applying and use a hair dryer to tighten the film.

3.       Inspect drafty exhaust fans.

You may already know where most air leakage occurs in your home, but vents and exhaust fans often have gaps around them that are less obvious. Go to the outside to make sure they are in good condition. If you notice your bathroom (or other room with a vent or exhaust fan) is much cooler than the rest of the house, you might have a louver that is stuck open or damaged. Fixing them will prevent the cold air from getting in.

4.       Insulate the attic.

If you find your heating costs are un-normally expensive, you might need to insulate your attic. Heat rises – so you want to heat to stay in the house rather than leave through the roof. 16 to 18 inches of insulation in your attic is the best.

5.       Reduce fireplace heat loss.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep the damper closed when it’s not in use. This will prevent drafts and heat loss throughout the rest of your home. Insulated glass doors make a fireplace more efficient as the glass allows the heat from the fire to radiate into the room.

6.       Give your furnace a check-up.

Have your furnace serviced before winter to make sure the heat will be available when needed? Check the filter to make sure it’s not clogged with dirt and debris. Filters get dirty quickly from allergens like dust, pollen, mould, pet dander and tobacco smoke. Having a clean filter will lower your energy bill and extend the life of your furnace.

7.       And lastly, reverse the ceiling fan.

Reverse the fan’s rotation to clockwise. Most fans have a switch on the fan base that sets the rotational direction. The fan’s blades will pull warmer air from the ceiling and push it lower into the room.