Winter is almost fully upon us in Maine. For homeowners this means that now is the perfect time to prepare your home for winter.  The Energy Department states that drafts can waste between 5% and 30% of the energy used throughout your home.  To help reduce those numbers, we are going to provide you with some simple steps you can take to properly prepare your home for winter.

One of the first things you should do is to check each door in your home for drafts.  If you notice that air escaping from these areas you can simply roll up a towel or use purchase a draft snake at your local home hardware store.  By placing one of these items at the foot of each door you will greatly eliminate the amount of warm air that escapes your home during the cold winter months.

The next thing to do is to properly winterize your outdoor water lines.  This is a relatively simple process; you begin by draining any hoses and pipes that are attached to the outdoor faucet.  Make sure that all of the water has been properly drained from all of the pipes and hoses to keep them from freezing during the winter.  If any water is left in the lines or pipes it may cause them to crack or break when they freeze.  Properly performing this step can save you time and money next summer.

Another simple step you can take is to lower the temperature on your water heater.  Most water heaters are automatically set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Most people do not need their water to be that hot and it can cost you extra money to heat the water that high.  Simply lowering the temperature to 120 degrees or lower can reduce your water-heating costs by 6% to 10%.

If you have noticed that your storm doors and windows are allowing a lot of heat to escape your home it may be time to upgrade them.  Installing a new storm door can increase the energy efficiency of your home by 45%.  When choosing a new storm door you should look for a model that has been Energy Star certified.  Storm windows can also make a great improvement to the level of energy efficiency of your home.

By following some of these steps you will notice that your home is staying warmer during the winter and you are paying less for your energy bill.  Don’t continue to pay for heat that is only going to escape from your home through a drafty door or window.