Make Your Home Rodent Proof

Humans aren’t the only species that knows winter is coming. Small rodents are aware of the cold days ahead, and they are looking to your home for a cozy place to hibernate.

The first step is to look around the perimeter of your home, checking for any possible entry points where squirrels or mice can make their way inside. Mice only need a very small opening to squeak into your home—about 1/4th inch. If you truly want to make your home rodent-free this winter, leave no stone unturned when it comes to sealing up nooks and crannies.

Change Your Furnace Filter

It’s easy to forget about, but tuning up your furnace can make your home warmer and lower energy bills at the same time. Remember that you need to change any dirty furnace filters—which can restrict airflow and increase energy demand. You can also consider upgrading to a permanent filter, which is more equipped to control the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Turn Down Your Water Heater

Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees, but reducing this down to 120 degrees can lower your energy bills by as much as 10%.

Add New Caulking and Weatherstripping

If new replacement windows aren’t in the budget, new caulking or weatherstripping can buy you some extra time. Even small air leaks can increase your energy bills significantly, and sealing up gaps will help keep drafts at bay.

If your windows are excessively drafty, new weatherstripping and caulking won’t do your home (or energy bills) any favors. Upgrade with energy efficient windows, certified by Energy Star, with professional installation for best results.

Add Extra Insulation

Insulation is an important component for keeping your home toasty warm. Take a look inside your attic and take a look at the insulation levels. If you can see the floor board through the insulation, this is an indicator that the levels aren’t high enough. The most common type of insulation is fiberglass, although some variations of spray foam insulation has an R-value as high as 6.5. It’s not cheap, but it is very dense and has a glue-like tenacity and adds structural strength to the surrounding wall.

Winter is no joke here in Chicago, and staying a step ahead of winter is never a bad idea. Be sure to replace any old windows or entry doors before cold weather arrives, and save even more money on your utility bills.