Energy: Save yourself from the annoying low-battery “peep” by proactively replacing batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year. One easy way to stay on top of this is to do it every spring and fall when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time. But, if you missed this past fall, why not make it a holiday tradition? Another hidden battery in your house: the one in your programmable thermostat.
Light: Efficiency and longevity vary, but slowly upgrading to compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs can be a cost-effective, energy-efficient move. Consumer Reports has a nice run-down of the options.
Peace of Mind: If you don’t already have a radon mitigation system installed, winter is a good time to test your home for radon, a gas that can raise the risk of lung cancer. Simple test kits can be found at hardware stores and mailed in for analysis. If the test finds that radon is at a hazardous level in your home, a system can be installed to improve it (typical cost for a mitigation system, if needed, is $1200 to $1800).
A Little Blanket: Your water heater might benefit from some extra insulation to increase its efficiency. Follow these steps to see if a pre-cut water heater blanket might be on your home’s wish list.
Fresh Air: Your furnace has to work extra hard to keep you warm when its filter is full of dirt, dust bunnies, and pet fur. There are lots of options for filter types. Consult your owner’s manual for filter replacement recommendations, and follow them.
A Little Bling: How about a nice new light fixture to spruce up the outside of your home?
A Big Blanket: Attic insulation is on the pricey side, but your home will show its gratitude with warmth and lower heating bills for years to come.
Sunshine: On sunny winter days, make sure you open the shades and blinds on the south side of your house to take advantage of the absolutely free warmth of the sun.
Spa Treatment: Spend some quality time giving your home some extra cleaning. You’ll enjoy the gleaming smile you see in return. Tasks like vacuuming off your fridge’s coils and/or air intake will even increase the appliance’s efficiency and life!