Take the chill out of high energy bills
Getting a head start on winter projects can make the advent of cold weather a warmer experience. If you begin now, you can save time and as much as 25 percent on your heating bill once outside temperatures hit the freezing mark.
Caulking and applying weather-stripping to window and door frames is one of the easiest and least expensive options and can save hundreds of dollars on heating bills, said Tom Daly, an expert with the Home Depot.
Here are Dalys suggestions for staying warm this winter:
l Fix the little leaks. All the tiny leaks in a home, like around light switches, electrical outlets, exhaust fans, dryer vents and chimney dampers, can add up to a wide-open window. Seal them with weather-resistant caulk, foam switch plate gaskets, weather-stripping and expanding foam.
l Insulation station. Daly recommends checking the attic and crawl space or basement to ensure the right type and amount of insulation is being used. Insulation is rated by R-valuewhich means resistance to heat flowand the Department of Energy recommends R-values for existing homes based on local conditions and available heat sources.
l Dont heat the neighborhood. Have a professional clean and tune the furnace every other year. Furnace filters should be cleaned monthly for cleaner air and energy efficiency. Vacuum register grills and make sure heat registers are not blocked with furniture or drapes.
l Money down the drain. With 15 to 20 percent of your homes energy expenses going toward heating water, improving the efficiency of your water heater and plumbing will put money in your pocket. You can easily wrap a water heater with an insulation jacket in about 10 minutes. Wrapping pipes is just as easy with self-adhesive insulation tape. Also, check to make sure the water heaters temperature isnt set too high. A setting of 115 degrees Fahrenheit provides comfortable hot water for most uses.