NEA MB -Winterize Your Home on a Budget

There is nothing more relaxing than being in a warm house on a cold day. Whether there’s a furious storm or subzero temperatures outside, it doesn’t matter as long as you are wrapped in the warm glow of your home. Keeping out the bite of winter doesn’t have to break the bank. As temperatures plunge and the snow or rain starts falling, here are a number of low cost tips to ensure that you and your family stay comfortable this season.

$20 or Less

  • Use a basic caulk gun ($20) and four tubes of caulk ($7.50 each) to fill gaps in siding, windows, and doors.
  • Tape windows with a plastic film insulating kit. Cost: $20 (enough for five or six windows)
  • Put in weather stripping for windows, four 17-foot rolls. Cost: $20 ($5 each)
  • Replacement filters for central heat and air unit on a regular basis, at least every three months or more often. Cost: $10
  • Place threshold/sweep strips to fill air leaks beneath doors. Cost: $10-$20
  • Purchase rolls of fiberglass insulation to pack around basement doors, windows in unused rooms or around exterior windows, doors, and air conditioning units. Cost: $25/roll
  • Install foam insulation in sockets and outlets. Cost $5 a package


  • Install a programmable thermostat. Cost: $15 to $50
  • Use a chimney balloon in unused fireplaces to prevent drafts from flowing through your chimney and prevent heat from escaping. Cost: $50

$200 or Less

  • Get a home energy audit from your utility company. Most utility companies offer free or low cost home energy audits to their customers. Private inspectors will charge you. Cost: $200 on average
  • Schedule an annual checkup, cleaning, and maintenance for your central heating and air unit and all air ducts. Cost: $100
  • Get a ceiling fan to move warm air. Cost: with installation $200

Winterizing for Practically Nothing
You can get something for nothing. Here are some ways to winterize your house that are virtually free:

  • Roll up a towel or throw rug to close gaps at the bottom of all exterior doors, but leave the gaps on interior doors free to allow heat to circulate between rooms
  • Clear the lint from the outside dryer vent and make sure the flap closes completely when the dryer isn’t running to improve airflow and use less electricity
  • Flush the water heater to remove sediment, which enables it to operate more efficiently and safely
  • Set ceiling fans to a clockwise direction, which will push hot air down towards the floor
  • Clean out your gutters to prevent icicles from forming that can damage roofs and and avoiding dangerous icy patches on sidewalks and steps
  • Turn down your thermostat – the U.S. Department of Energy estimates you can save three percent on your energy bill for every degree drop on the thermostat in the winter

Find a more winter home and automobile preparation tips at

You can warm also your house and your budget by freezing the cost of your auto and home insurance. Winter is a great time to take care of things you might have neglected, so call an advisor with the NEA Auto and Home Insurance provider, California Casualty, for a free quote or coverage comparison at 1.800.800.9410 or visit

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California Casualty has been serving the needs of educators since 1951 and is the only auto and home insurance company to earn the trust and endorsement of the NEA. As a result, NEA members qualify for exceptional rates, deductibles waived for vandalism or collisions to your vehicle parked at school, holiday or summer skip payment plans and free Identity Defense protection – exclusive benefits not available to the general public. Learn how to save by getting a quote at, or by calling 1.800.800.9410.