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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Winterize Your Home

With winter and beautiful snowy days comes a period of nearly unbearable cold for many parts of the country.  Another thing that is all too common during this time of year is high utility bills.  Whether you heat your home with electricity, propane, or oil, you will find that winter naturally causes the need to run the heater much more than other parts of the year.  What you may not know is that taking a few simple steps can help to greatly reduce your costs.  Today we will take a closer look at the process of winterizing your home.

One of the first things that you should do is to check your furnaces and vents before the first hard cold.  Turn on all of your vents and make certain that it only takes a short time for hot air to start flowing.  If it has been more than a year since your last cleaning and maintenance, take the time to hire someone.  The amount of money you can save is well worth the cost.  You will also want to replace any filters and clear any obstacles that may be blocking your vents.  Using a vacuum to clean the vents can also remove any dust or other blockages that might hinder air flow.  Removing any window air conditioners can also help save money and keep heat inside your home.

Another excellent tip is to ensure that you close all of your storm windows and lock them before closing inside windows.  When this is complete, using a clear heat shrink seal over your windows can help eliminate drafts.  Foam insulation strips can be placed under each window as it is closed to create a tighter seal, and the plastic sheets are simply taped into place.  Using a hair dryer, you then heat the sheets until the plastic is very tight and has become crystal clear.  The seal should make no changes in appearance but will serve to keep your home warmer.

Using foam insulating seals around your door can also be quite helpful in eliminating drafts.  It is also possible to buy small pieces of foam that are created in the shape of electrical outlets.  Most people are surprised to learn how much cold air can flow into your home through these sockets.  By simply removing the cover, placing the foam inside the cover, and reattaching it, you can help provide a great deal more insulation.

These are some of the most basic steps for winterization.  Other things you will want to consider include ensuring that someone checks your fireplace and chimney and that you turn off the water supply to your exterior faucets.  This can help prevent leaks and damage.  Taking precautions to winterize your home can help prevent many situations and can help you save a great deal of money.  When you need to ensure that your home is protected throughout the season, taking a few simple precautions is always worthwhile.  Reducing energy costs is important, and these steps help ensure that you are able to maintain a warm home without consuming large amounts of fuel or electricity.

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