Like most homeowners you are probably quite good at getting your home ready for the harsh winter weather ahead. If you are like me, maybe you wait just a little too long to start, but a big effort just as the cold weather begins to hit, will usually make us feel like we are prepared. Typical winterizing projects include furnace tune ups, filter changes, hosing down the AC and adding caulk and/or weather stripping to keep out the cold.
For your review, here are some other things to save money and increase comfort and peace of mind.
Add attic insulation – maintain 12 inches of insulation. Decrease thermal loss and boost energy efficiency. Insulation can degrade and lose volume over the years.
Install plastic over windows – for just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware store. The plastic is nearly invisible. Adding a buffer against drafts can help hold in more heat.
Ceiling fans – push the warm air down by setting a clockwise rotation (look for a switch that changes direction). Air that has risen to the ceiling will be circulated back into the living area. Furnace runs less and heating bills can be reduced.
Trim your trees – if you live in an area prone to icy winter storms, keep an eye on your trees and take action when limbs are hanging over power lines. Added weight from snow and ice can bring branches down, creating a hazard and/or a power outage. Be aware of limbs hanging over your home.
Have you chimney inspected and cleaned – check for drafts that may have developed. Have a chimney sweep evaluate the structure and remove any combustibles or obstructions.
Wrap your basement pipes – reduce heat loss and raise delivered water temperature. Wait less time for hot water to the shower. Prevent possible freezing of pipes. Purchase pre-slit pipe foam and cut to length.
Prepare a 72 hour emergency kit – have food, water and first aid supplies ready if your power goes out and/or you cannot get anywhere on the roads.
Tax rebates and credits – for purchases of energy efficient equipment, they are available from the federal government and local gas/electric utility companies.
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