I know it is nice weather now, but it is not too early to start thinking about winter. It will be here sooner than you think. Here are key areas of your home/property you should winterize to save money.
#1: Check seals on doors & windows
If the heated air is escaping your home through creaky, leaky doors and windows, you'll be wasting hundreds of dollars heating your home. On the next blustery day, check to see if cold air is blowing in by holding your hand next to windows and doors. If you do find a drafty door, try an inexpensive fix - those sand-filled, fabric-covered draft stoppers for doors leading in and out of the house. For windows, check to be certain that they are properly closed and, and if you have them, that storm windows are in properly. Thick drapes are also helpful at nighttime, but during the day, be sure they're open for windows that get direct sunlight.
#2: Check the chimney
Be sure your fireplace damper is closed when there is no fire lighted. Think of it this way: Leaving the damper open is like keeping a 4- by -4-inch window wide open, thus allowing that precious warm air (and the hard-earned money it took to heat your home) to go right up the chimney. In addition, check the seal on the flue damper to be certain it's as snug as possible. If you never use your fireplace, then go ahead and plug/seal the chimney flue. There's no sense in losing heat from something you never use.
#3: Care for your heat & water
Have your heating system serviced and be sure that anything on your heating system that is covered under warranty is replaced. Change heating filters and walk through the house to make sure that all heat vents are clear. You don't want any of your children's toys melting when you turn the system on for the first time. In addition, changing the filters will also help remove pesky allergens. For the water system, drain sprinkler pipes if you have them. Otherwise, the pipes underground can freeze and break over the winter, costing you money and time next spring. Also, never turn your heat off fully, even if you are going on vacation for a week. Your indoor pipes can freeze and burst, causing an indoor flood. Having a friend drop by to check on your home during winter months if you go away.
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