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7 Simple Ways to Winterize Your Home and Save on Winter Heating Costs
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Just because the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that winter heating costs will be cheaper this year than last doesn’t mean that you won’t still spend a bundle keeping your house warm during the cold months. Instead of turning up the thermostat or putting on another sweater, try out these low-cost winterization tips to keep the cold out and your money in your pocket.
1. Reverse your ceiling fans.
They’re not just to use during the summer months. Flick the switch or pull the cord on your fans so that they run in a clockwise direction during the winter. Why? This pushes the hot air that’s up near the ceiling down, warming the room.
2. Plug your chimney.
Burning a fire in the fireplace can certainly make your house feel warmer. But a fireplace is a huge source of cold air during the winter. If you never light up a stack of logs, installing a chimney pillow — an inflatable pillow that blocks a chimney’s airflow that retails for about $50 — can help reduce your home’s heat loss during the cold months.
3. Dodge drafts.
Drafts in a home can increase a home’s energy usage by 5 to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. One of the easiest ways to reduce them is totally old school: a draft snake placed at the base of doors and windows. You can purchase these at home improvement and big-box stores, or make your own using one ofthese DIY patterns on Pintrest.
4. Cover your windows.
Blinds and curtains aren’t just for decoration. Closing these window coverings once the sun goes down helps reduce the amount of cold air coming into your house during the evening and overnight. The heavier the fabric? The better at blocking drafts.
5. Remove window units.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but walk around and look at how many people leave their air-conditioning units installed year-around. Once the weather turns cooler, remove these appliances and store them until the spring. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of money to heat your home while basically leaving one of its windows wide open.
6. Fill every nook and cranny.
From small cracks around exterior faucets, windows, doors, electric outlets and wiring, houses have countless ways for cold air to sneak inside. Sealing exterior openings and tiny ones with caulk and using weather stripping on larger cracks (like ones around windows and doors) will help reduce your heating costs.
7. Program your thermostat.
How many times have you left your house only to remember hours later that you never turned down the heat? A programmable thermostat will prevent this from happening in the future. If you don’t already have one, purchasing a programmable thermostat will be an upfront cost of around $50 to $100, but as Popular Mechanics points out, you’ll save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating costs for each degree you lower it. Meaning that you’ll make back that money — and then a whole lot more — very quickly.