11 Ways to Winterize Your Home on a Budget

Keep the cold out, the heat in, and your energy bill down with these cost-effective tips for winterizing your home.

  1. Clean Your Gutters

    Clean Gutters for Winterizing your Home

    You've heard it before, but we can't stress this enough. Making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later. Cost: Other than your sweat and time, free.

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  2. Flush the Water Heater

    Flush the Water Heater

    Particles and sediment can collect over time in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit's efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater functioning at its best. Cost: 100% free!


  3. Clockwise Ceiling Fans

    Ceiling Fan Direction

    Ceiling fans are everyone's favorite summer budget-saver. But they can help out in the winter as well! Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction so they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor. If they're going counterclockwise, they won't be as effective. Cost: free if you have a fan.


  4. Replace Filters

    Replace Filters

    Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating system can significantly improve its efficiency and longevity, while easing the pressure on your wallet. Cost: a new filter runs about $10.


  5. Window Insulation Film

    Window Insulation Film

    It may not be the most fashionable tip, but window insulation film can keep up to 70% of your heat from leaking out of windows. Cost: $20 to $35 per kit.


  6. Draft Guards

    Draft Guards

    When winterizing your home, draft guards can help save heat from escaping under the door. Cost: $10 to $15. (If you don't want to shell out for a draft guard, a rolled towel placed at the bottom of an exterior door will also do the trick.)

  7. Weatherstrip Tape


    Drafts and air leaks increase your heating costs, so make sure your windows and doors are sealed tight with weatherstripping. Simple, easy, and smart. Cost: $5 to $10 per roll.

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  8. Fiberglass Insulation

    Fiberglass Insulation

    For maximum heat retention, pack fiberglass insulation around basement doors, windows in unused rooms, and window AC units.  Make sure your attic floor is insulated, too. Just remember to be careful and wear gloves! Cost: around $25 per roll.


  9. Programmable Thermostat

    Programmable Thermostat

    The US Department of Energy says you can save as much as 1% on your energy bill for every degree you lower your home's temperature during the winter. Install a programmable thermostat now and save money by keeping the temp down when you're not at home.

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  10. Just Caulk It


    Any remaining gaps in siding, windows, or doors can be filled with caulk. For extra drafty windows and doors, caulk the inside too, pulling off moldings to fill all gaps in the insulation. Cost: $20 for a basic caulk gun and $5 to $10 for a tube of caulk.


  11. Chimney Balloon

    Chimney Balloon

    Your chimney is a huge source of heat loss come wintertime. If not in active use, plug it up with a chimney balloon when winterizing your home to keep drafts out and heat in. Cost: $55.


  12. For more...

    Warm House

    If you are looking for ways to protect your home this winter, consider these related articles:


    Everything You Need to Know About Winterizing Pipes


    Quick Tip: Proper Insulation is the Key


    Quick Tip: Winterize Your Home


  13. See the House of the Week


    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!