Don’t Delay Winterizing Just because
It’s Winter!

By John Voket, RISMedia Consumer

I have talked about this subject before in times of fairer weather, but even
the middle of winter is a good time to winterize your home to help maximize
savings on heating until the sun shines warm again.

My friends at the Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommend that property
owners can still take a number of practical steps to keep their home safe and
warm during the remaining cold months:

1. Furnace checkup and cleaning:
Clean or replace your furnace’s air
filters. Have a professional check the furnace and ensure the thermostat and
other parts are working properly. A typical home furnace reaches the end of its
useful life after 15 years and may need repair or replacement. A computerized
thermostat can save energy and money by reducing the temperature at night or
when you’re away from home.

2. Consider insulating heating ducts:
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
estimates that a centrally-heated home can lose as much as 60 percent of warmed
air before it reaches vents if the ductwork is poorly connected, not insulated,
or if it travels through unheated spaces. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust
and dirt from vents.

3. Get a chimney checkup: Before lighting the first fire of the season,
your chimney should be checked for animals, nests, leaves and other debris, as
well as for any necessary repairs.

4. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Homeowners should
routinely test these devices to make sure they work and install fresh batteries
as needed. Detector units should be replaced every 10 years.

5. Clear gutters and ridge vents
: Clean gutters to prevent or remove any
debris that could cause rainwater to clog, freeze and damage gutters. Ridge
vents should be cleared to allow the house to “breathe” properly to eliminate
stagnant inside air. Close any attic vents or windows that would allow heated
air to escape and cold air to seep in.

And plug holes -- though they may not be large, they have a cumulative effect
on home heating costs. The BBB suggests you:

  • Make sure windows close tightly.

  • Check for leaks around them and use caulking to plug
         the leaks.

  • Inspect all weather stripping for cracks and peeling.

  • Consider applying insulating film to drafty windows,
         and install a tight-fitting fireplace door or cover to stop day-long loss
         of heat through the chimney.

You can find other helpful consumer tips at: