ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Now that the cold weather is starting to show its brave face again and we’re spending more time indoors, you may be starting to think about how to best prepare your home for the long winter ahead. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

When it comes to preparing your home for winter, Operations Manager/Building Analyst for Wise Home Energy Ryan Puckett tells me that safety comes first. Something every homeowner or renter can do themselves is go around and replace the furnace filter if you have one to help with air quality and improve the distribution of heat throughout your home. It also may be worth having a professional come to your home to check for any hidden air leaks that are present with multiple options on how to seal them depending on where it is. 

“Every home is unique, every window and door is unique. There’s weather stripping that you can put around your doors if you notice big gaps, fairly inexpensive purchases from home depot, door sweeps as well. Older, single pane windows you could consider putting plastic on them can help with comfort when sitting around a window, but if you have an energy assessment a test can be run called a ‘blower door test’ can be done where 20 mph winds simulated on home and shows where leakage points are,” Puckett said.

He said that anyone can have this test done, and it’s strongly recommended if you’re trying to keep your home running as efficiently as possible. You may even consider giving your heating and cooling systems a tune-up as this can help reduce the amount you pay on your utility bills; all so you can keep both your home, and your family as safe as possible this winter.

Anyone in New York State is eligible for a free home checkup as long as you live in a one-to-four unit building, whether you own your own home, or rent an apartment. There are also different rebates that are available through NYSERDA depending on your income.  

Modern income households can get a comprehensive assessment on their home to make minor improvements such as replacing lightbulbs and upgrading thermostats at no cost.

There’s a $5,000 matching grant that can help make even bigger scale improvements on home like upgrading old heating systems and installing insolation.

For example, a family of four making less than $87,000 would be eligible for that program.

Pucket said that New York State has goal of 2 million homes being climate friendly which means isolating properly, tightening them up, and installing heating pumps that can heat or cool your home purely off of electricity. With 30% of greenhouse gas emissions attributed to buildings and homes, that’s a big task if we want to create a sustainable future for our state and country.