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Are You Ready for Winter?


It is the time of year when we all start to think about winterizing our homes. Home winterization has many benefits. It is a great way to ensure your home is protected from the elements. It will save you money on costly utility bills. And it will keep your family warmer and more comfortable throughout the winter months.

Here are several ways to winterize your home on a budget:

1. Clean Your Gutters.

You've heard it before, but we can't stress this enough. Making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later. Cost: Other than your sweat and time, free.

2. Flush the Water Heater.

Particles and sediment can collect over time in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit's efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater functioning at its best. Cost: 100% free!

3. Clockwise Ceiling Fans.

Ceiling fans are everyone's favorite summer budget-saver. But they can help out in the winter as well! Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction so they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor.

4. Replace Filters.

Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating system can significantly improve its efficiency and longevity, while easing the pressure on your wallet. Cost: a new filter runs about $10.

5. Window Insulation Film.

It may not be the most fashionable tip, but window insulation film can keep up to 70% of your heat from leaking out of windows. Cost: $20 to $35 per kit.

6. Draft Guards.

Draft guards can help save heat from escaping under the door. Cost: $10 to $15. (If you don't want to shell out for a draft guard, a rolled towel placed at the bottom of an exterior door will also do the trick.)

7. Weatherstrip Tape.

Drafts and air leaks increase your heating costs, so make sure your windows and doors are sealed tight with weatherstripping. Simple, easy, and smart. Cost: $5 to $10 per roll.

8. Fiberglass Insulation.

For maximum heat retention, pack fiberglass insulation around basement doors, windows in unused rooms, and window AC units. Make sure your attic floor is insulated, too. Just remember to be careful and wear gloves! Cost: around $25 per roll.

9. Programmable Thermostat.

The US Department of Energy says you can save as much as 1% on your energy bill for every degree you lower your home's temperature during the winter. Install a programmable thermostat now and save money by keeping the temp down when you're not at home.

10. Just Caulk It.

Any remaining gaps in siding, windows, or doors can be filled with caulk. For extra drafty windows and doors, caulk the inside too, pulling off moldings to fill all gaps in the insulation. Cost: $20 for a basic caulk gun and $5 to $10 for a tube of caulk.

11. Chimney Balloon.

Your chimney is a huge source of heat loss come wintertime. If not in active use, plug it up with a chimney balloon to keep drafts out and heat in. Cost: $55.


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