Although heating oil prices are lower than ever, it still pays off to have your home winterized for even more savings. Even though winter may seem far off, it’s best to start planning for it earlier rather than later. Preparing your home for the winter means paving the road for considerable savings in the future. Winterizing your home is one of the smartest investments you can make if you live in an older house, although even new houses may suffer from poor thermal insulation efficacy.

Here are some tips on how to winterize your home – some of these will not cost you much, and for others you may apply for getting government incentives under certain conditions.

  1. Block all air leaks

winterize your home long islandYour home may have openings which allow for exchange of inside and outside air. That means your expensive, warm air will go right out during winter months, and you should count on some excess costs of fuel. Block the draft from all your doors, drafts of windows and window fittings. Drafts can lead to wasting up to 30 % of all energy burnt to heat your home. You can purchase cheap draft snakes from home improvement stores, or you can make your own out of foam. For other leaks around doors and windows use weatherstripping.

  1. Get a programmable thermostat

It’s true that programmable thermostats aren’t cheap, but they work great and pay for themselves over a short period of time. These devices will allow you to burn exactly the amount of fuel you need, slowly lowering the temperature over the night, turning heating off when you leave and on again shortly before you return. Some high-end models can be controlled remotely via a smartphone or computer.

  1. Window insulation kits

Window insulation kits consist of thin but powerful films which are hardly noticeable once installed. These films allow all the light to come in but prevent the cold from coming in. There are indoor and outdoor plastic films. Window kits usually come in packs for five windows and are really cheap. Packages contain window wraps and adhesives, and you will need a hair dryer or hot air gun to apply them.  Putting them on requires little skill and time, but in the end you’ll have no drafts coming from your windows.

  1. Clean gutters

Maintaining your gutters free of solid materials that may clog them is a long term prevention method that will keep you safe from future problems which may lead to bigger repair expenses. Water remaining in a clogged gutter will freeze in the winter and the ice may crack into your walls. These cracks will make your warm air go right out. In longer term, freezing water from clogged gutters will create much more serious problems.

  1. Check the state of your heating system

This applies to all heating systems, no matter what fuel they use. For oil heated systems you will need to replace filters and call a service for an annual tune-up and check-up. The technician will adjust the furnace and other important elements of your heating system and give you an estimation of its current state. If your furnace is an older model, consider replacing it as new furnaces are highly efficient and you may possibly qualify for some rebates and incentives from the government.