For those of you dreading the long, cold months of winter that lie ahead, taking the time this fall to follow these simple steps will save you money on heating while keeping you warm.
Block the leaks – With energy costs on the rise, nothing makes more sense to homeowners than checking for any and all leaks around your home. On a breezy day, walk around and check the obvious sources of leaks: windows, doors, electrical outlets, etc. Caulking and adding outlet gaskets are two easy fixes for these trouble areas.
Windows – As you check for leaks, it is also a good time to replace your screens with storm windows.
Clean the gutters – This may be an ongoing chore through-out the fall season. Keep all spouts, gutters, and drains free of leaves and debris. Clear gutters will keep water moving away from your home and prevent icy clogs and back-ups.
Reverse the fans – Not often thought about, but your ceiling fans can impact the comfort of your home during the winter. Adjusting the fan to rotate in a clockwise direction will push warm air down into the living area.
Wrap the pipes – A pipe burst in the dead of winter is a nightmare! Check for un-insulated pipes in your home (crawl spaces, garages, basements) and get them wrapped. Remove hoses and drain all water from outside faucets before the first frost.
Check the furnace – This should be done monthly to keep the furnace filter clean and air flowing efficiently. Replacing the filter is an easy way to keep your home comfortable ALL year round. An annual “check-up” by a professional is also a good idea.
Thermostat –Turning the temperature down a few degrees when you leave is a huge energy saver; every degree lower can save you between 1% and 3% on your energy bill. A programmable thermostat is a great way to eliminate this from your morning to-do list.
Insulate – Check the attic and other unfinished areas. It is recommended that you have a minimum of 12 inches of insulation. If you decide to add more insulation, avoid the type with paper backing, this will act as a vapor barrier and cause moisture problems.
Check the chimney – Last but not least…take a look at your chimney if you plan on using it over the winter. This should be done at least once a year, more often if you are using a woodstove. A chimney cap is also good idea for keeping foreign items out of the chimney. If not in use, close the damper to avoid cold drafts.
Stay Ahead of “Old Man Winter” and Protect Your Home!
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