Small changes can ad up to big sav­ings dur­ing win­ter

Keep your house from leak­ing heat and money

The Covington News - - SHOWCASE OF HOMES -

By the time the first win­ter chill hits the air, most peo­ple have al­ready dusted off their win­ter coats and pre­pared them­selves for the brisk months ahead. For home­own­ers, how­ever, ready­ing for the win­ter in­volves more than just un­pack­ing the cold weather clothes.

Each year, home­own­ers over­spend on win­ter util­i­ties be­cause they fail to make sev­eral small, but en­ergy ef­fi­cient, mod­er­a­tions to their home for the win­ter. Win­ter­iz­ing a home is quick, easy and in­ex­pen­sive and can help home­own­ers trim a sub­stan­tial amount off their win­ter­time bills. That could be es­pe­cially im­por­tant this win­ter, when the Na­tional En­ergy As­sis­tance Direc­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion es­ti­mates that home­own­ers na­tion­wide will pay a record amount to heat their homes. For those who use oil heat, NEADA pre­dicts a 28 per­cent in­crease from a year ago, push­ing the av­er­age bill to more than $1,800. While the ex­pected in­crease is sig­nif­i­cantly less for nat­u­ral gas users, an in­crease is still on the hori­zon, fur­ther em­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance of win­ter­iz­ing your home be­fore the first cold spell hits.

• In­spect and re­pair all in­su­la­tion. Most home­own­ers are fully aware that hot air rises. Still, in spite of that knowl­edge, most homes that have at­tics also fea­ture poor in­su­la­tion in those at­tics. Even if you spend lit­tle time in your at­tic, it needs to be well in­su­lated to keep your heat­ing costs down. A prop­erly in­su­lated at­tic could save home­own­ers a few hun­dred dol­lars over the course of a sin­gle win­ter sea­son. A poorly in­su­lated at­tic, how­ever, will have the ad­verse ef­fect.

• Don’t let cold air in. Turn­ing up the ther­mo­stat is not the most ef­fi­cient way to keep your home com­fort­able. Chances are, if past win­ters have found you rou­tinely turn­ing up the heat, you have cracks, gaps, or holes through­out your house that are let­ting cold air in. Cracks around win­dows and doors are of­ten the cul­prit when cold air en­ters a home. Fix­ing th­ese cracks is in­ex­pen­sive, and you won’t find your­self con- stantly over­com­pen­sat­ing with the heat­ing sys­tem. If your win­dows are on the older side, con­sider re­plac­ing them. While new win­dows can be a costly ex­pense, in the long run the bet­ter in­su­la­tion they pro­vide will make them more than worth it, par­tic­u­larly in re­gions where win­ter lasts for months upon months.

• Don’t let warm air out. While cracks and holes around win­dows and doors let cold air in, there are other spots where warm air also es­capes a home. This is es­pe­cially true of ar­eas around elec­tri­cal out­lets on ex­te­rior walls. If th­ese out­lets are in­se­cure, warm air will es­cape through them. Such ar­eas are eas­ily fixed with in­ex­pen­sive caulk­ing or sim­ply by in­stalling new out­let plates and mak­ing sure they are snug to the wall.

• In­spect and mod­er­ate your heat­ing sys­tem be­fore win­ter hits full swing. Home­own­ers of­ten fail to have their heat­ing sys­tems in­spected, and the re­sult can be higher heat­ing bills thanks to dirty heat­ing ducts and old fil­ters. Once th­ese items are cleaned and re­placed, home­own­ers re­al­ize re­sults al­most im­me­di­ately.

An­other way to save money with your heat­ing sys­tem is to use a set­back ther­mome­ter. A set­back ther­mome­ter can be set so you can heat the home while you’re there, but lower the tem­per­a­ture dur­ing the hours when there is usu­ally no one home (such as dur­ing school hours or the work day). The cost of heat­ing the home back up when you ar­rive home at night is far less than the cost of keep­ing the home heated through­out the day when no one is around.

Metro Creative Ser­vices

Take pre­cau­tions: Just a few sim­ple steps can help pro­tect your home from en­ergy and heat loss dur­ing the colder months.

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