Put these winter home maintenance tasks on your to-do list if you have not already completed them this year...

Programmable Thermostats - An Important Step Toward Energy Efficiency


According to Energy Star , lowering the heat by 8 degrees or more while you are at work and sleeping can lower household energy costs by an average of $180 per year. If you are worried such a drop in temperature will put too much of a chill in the air, keep in mind that you will be away during the day and under layers of covers at night.

The easiest way to manage temperatures is with a programmable or "smart" thermostat. The newer smart thermostats build on the concept of the programmable kind but also learn habits and monitor conditions to improve the energy efficiency of your home. For example, it can measure lighting and movement on a Sunday afternoon to determine that no one is at home, providing an opportunity to lower the heat and save money. If this happens on multiple Sundays, the smart thermostat can then make adjustments to the weekly heating schedule. You are also able to adjust the temperature of your home via smartphone with these devices.

Wrap Pipes to Prevent Winter Freezing

Wrapping the pipes outside your home and in areas inside that are not insulated saves you money in two ways. First, you reduce heat loss from the pipes, which increases the delivered water temperature and allows you to turn the water heater down. Second, you also avoid the costly repair and cleanup that comes from a pipe burst by freezing temperatures.

Pipe insulation does not cost much, and your professional handyman can complete the work in no time. Be sure to insulate exterior hose bibs and pipes and to insulate or use heat tape on pipes in inside areas not insulated, such as your attic or basement. Also prepare for a much quieter winter, as your pipes will no longer make noises when they contract and expand when the temperature changes.

When covering pipes in an inside area without insulation, also have the access point to the area checked. A poorly insulated attic door, for example, can result in heat leaking into the attic and melting the snow on your roof. The water then trickles to the colder edges of the roof, above the eaves, and freezes again, creating ice dams that damage your roof and gutters and lead to leaks inside the home.

By insulating and sealing the door , and ensuring proper ventilation in the attic , you keep the underside of the roof at the same temperature as the outside air and prevent ice dams from forming, thus improving the energy efficiency of your home and helping you to avoid costly repairs, both of which save you money.

Create an Energy Efficient Home


Regular maintenance keeps the energy efficiency of your home at optimal levels during winter months. It also costs significantly less than repairing damage from cold weather. Use this free, printable winter maintenance checklist to ensure you stay on schedule and keep your home in top shape.

For more ideas on creating an energy-efficient home, check out our guide to an energy efficient home.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service now online. Repair. Improve. Maintain. One call does it all!