Inexpensive Ways to Save on Your Home Heating Bill This Winter

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Tips To Make Spring Cleaning A Breeze

Fall To-Do Lists For Homeowners

As the days grow shorter, it’s easy to forget that your home needs a little TLC before winter comes calling. By taking care of essential upkeep and repairs now, you can avoid problems during winter!

Days are Shorter!
1Because the sun sets earlier during the winter, you’ll be leaving your lights on for longer stretches of time. Prepare for the increased energy consumption by swapping your incandescent bulbs for LEDs . You’ll spend a bit more per bulb initially, but LED bulbs last longer and save energy

 

Time to Paint!
Thanks to cooler, more comfortable weather, fall is the perfect time to touch up your 2home’s exterior. Be sure not to ruin the renewed finish by using the wrong techniques. Select a high ­quality exterior paint with an acrylic base, and don’t choose a windy day for the job. If your house doesn’t need an entire paint job, consider touching up bare spots, splits, and board ends to protect them from winter weather.

 

Caulking!
3By sealing the gaps around windows and between siding boards in the fall, you can lower your heating bill and eliminate uncomfortably cold drafts in the winter. But before you start patching the holes, remember to remove all existing caulk, because new caulk needs a clean surface to seal properly. Use a razor blade to cut away the old caulk, then wash the area with a good degreasing detergent. Let the spot dry completely before applying new caulk

 

Change Those Filters!
Not only do clean furnace filters improve air quality by removing allergens more 4effectively, they also maximize the operating efficiency of your heating system—and a well­ maintained heating system is a necessity during the winter. Most furnaces need a filter change every one or two months, but you may have to do it more often if you have a very dusty home or pets that shed. Replacing your own filter is relatively simple (with help from the furnace manual), but you can also hire an HVAC professional to clean the furnace, check for the presence of hazardous gases, make any necessary repairs, and replace the filter.

 

Roof Repairs!
8Winter can wreak havoc on a roof that’s seen better days, so it’s important to make repairs before the colder weather arrives, bringing with it the threat of ice dams and accumulations of snow that can cause structural damage. Many homeowners don’t realize, however, that reusing old roofing materials can sabotage repairs. Although recycling a gutter apron or flashing is a tempting way to save money, used materials (especially metal ones) won’t last as long and can increase the risk of weather damage to the roof. Spring for new materials now so you won’t have to face a worn ­out roof later

 

Clean That Chimney!
5Creosote buildup in the flue of a wood ­burning fireplace can trigger a dangerous chimney fire. To ensure your safety as you snuggle next to toasty flames this winter, have your fireplace checked and cleaned by professionals. Chimney sweeps are always busiest in the fall, so be sure to schedule your cleaning early.

 

Check Those Batteries!
Protecting your family from dangerous fumes and fire hazards should always be a top 6priority. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic byproduct of the incomplete combustion of fuels, including natural gas, coal, and wood. It can’t be seen or smelled, so it’s essential that you keep your CO detector (as well as your smoke detectors) working well. To be certain that your detectors never run out of juice, change the batteries when you change your clocks, starting this fall when daylight saving time ends.

 

Get Rid Of Those Leaves!
7Left to pile up in the gutter, decomposing leaves and debris can block downspouts and trap water. As temperatures drop and the water freezes, these blockages can lead to damage to the house as well as the gutter. To clean out your gutters in preparation for winter, wait until all the leaves have fallen from the trees, and pay special attention to safety. Always use a sturdy ladder and wear shoes with nonslip soles. The ladder should be tall enough so you don’t have to stand on the top rung or overreach, both of which increase the risk of falling. Recruit an assistant who can steady the bottom of the ladder and hand up tools.