These free fixes will have you ready for winter fast.
Clean your gutters.
If you’re able and willing to do this yourself, the only cost is your effort. Clearing debris from your gutters is an important step in winter preparation, both for safety reasons and to avoid potentially expensive home repairs.
Reverse your fan’s direction to clockwise.
Reaching for a fan’s pull chain might not be the first thing you think to do when the house is feeling chilly—but this seemingly counterintuitive trick can help you save on heating costs. You may recall from a long-ago science class that hot air rises and cold air sinks. When a fan’s blades circle clockwise, they produce an updraft, and that updraft moves the warm air hanging out around your ceiling downward and closer to you.
Many fans have a motor switch that allows you to change the direction of the blades from the default counterclockwise to a clockwise direction instead (of course, you should make sure your fan is off and at a complete stop before you get up there to make the switch).
Flush your water heater.
Over time, sediment can accumulate in your water heater’s tank, reducing the unit’s efficiency and driving your water heating costs up. Flushing water through the drain valve clears things out and keeps your water heater running at its best. Be sure to consult with your owner’s manual before proceeding. Bonus tip: if you’re okay with shelling out around $20 to $40 for a water heater blanket, you can save seven to 16 percent on water heating costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Winterize your A/C and hoses.
It’s time to drain your air conditioner pipes and switch off your A/C unit’s water shutoff valve. If you use window A/C units, get those out of the windows and into storage—you may not realize it, but they’re basically saying “hey, come on in” to nippy winter winds. And last but not least, drain and store any outdoor hoses and turn off any outdoor water spigots.