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Home Winterization

Home Winterization

If you live in a colder climate, you probably find yourself spending money on heating bills during the winter.  But, by focusing on upgrading and maintaining those items that keep the cold air out of your home, you may be able  By focusing on upgrading and maintaining items that keep the cold air out and make your heating more efficient, you may just be able to save money on your bills and still keep your home comfortable dot live in during the winter. This is where home winterization comes into play.  Here are some tips as you prepare for the cold front:

Tip #1: Maintain Your Heating System
An efficient heating system is an essential component of home winterization.  Furnaces, boilers, and water heaters are the driving forces that keep your home a comfortable place to live during the cold weather.  If they start to fall into disrepair or are too old to meet your needs, you’ll be wasting fuel and money.

If your furnace, boiler, or water heater is more than three years old, you should have it is inspected each year to ensure good performance during the winter.  If they are more than 10 years old, chances are that its efficiency isn’t where should it be, so at this point, you may wish to consider replacing your old units with an EnergyStar unit, which can save up to 15% on your heating costs. 

Tip #2: Seal Doors and Windows
Putting seals around your doors or windows are essential in keeping the cold air out.  A few cheap pieces of caulk or weather stripping can do a great job at this.  While most homeowners (even the non-handy ones) can apply these materials easily, you can benefit from hiring a handyman or winterization specialist to do the job, as these guys know the styles of material that will work well for your location and home needs.  Materials are cheap and the job is usually done relatively quickly, so you’re not even looking at that higher a cost. 

Tip #3: Insulate
The key to home winterization is insulation, whether it be in the attic, around plumbing, in the basement, or on your interior walls.  Additional insulation keeps warm air in and cold air out, which will, in turn, keep your heating costs low.  There are a number of insulation materials available, such as expanding foam, which is expensive, but easy to install in most areas and highly effective.  Rolled fiberglass insulation is more affordable, but doesn’t fit easily into tighter spots.  Blown-in cellulose insulation is a good choice if you’re “going green,” as it is often made from recycled paper materials.  Whichever one you choose, make sure you discuss it with an insulation contractor or home winterization specialist before you proceed. 

An extra word of caution: One problem with increasing your insulation is that your indoor air quality can suffer.  To combat that, make sure you add ventilation whenever you add insulation; this will keep your air fresh and your heating efficient. 

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