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Winterizing Your Home: 8 Cost-Effective Tips

Cold weather will be here before you know it, but if you put in a little work into winterizing your home now, you might be able to save money all winter long while enjoying a warm and comfortable house. Here are eight tips for cost-effectively winterizing your home.

1. Upgrade to an efficient furnace.
Luckily, upgrading your furnace is not something you have to do every year. But if you know that your furnace is getting old, you could save a lot of money in the long run by installing a newer, high-efficiency unit. Winterizing your home with a new furnace could also greatly improve your home’s value. You’ll save on energy costs and you may be eligible for federal tax credits for new furnaces.

2. Turn down your water heater.
When you’re winterizing your home, a good thing to do first is to check the temperature on your water heater. Some installation professionals automatically set the water heater to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. But in fact, that’s often higher than necessary. Lowering the temperature to around 120 degrees is a small adjustment that could make a difference on your billing statemen — sometimes dropping water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent.

3. Change your furnace filters.
This one’s easy to forget but important to do when winterizing your home: Replace your furnace filters once a month during heating season. Dirty filters can cut off airflow, which makes your furnace work harder and also can drive up your energy bills. You could also make the switch to a permanent filter, which would mean you wouldn’t need to worry about cleaning or replacing it.

4. Enhance your insulation.
To help reduce your hot water bills, try this tip for winterizing your home: adding more insulation between walls and on your attic floor or basement ceiling. Also consider insulating your pipes, since you could save money and energy doing so. Furthermore, making sure your home is well-insulated could lower the chance of pipes freezing.

5. Install storm doors and windows.
You may be able to increase the energy efficiency of your home by installing storm doors and windows. Implementing this tip for winterizing your home could improve the efficiency of your home’s ventilation and lighting while also keeping the cold wind and air out by sealing up drafty areas.

6. Winterize your air-conditioning and water lines.
There are a few simpler things you can do to winterize your home than make adjustments to air-conditioning and water lines. Ideally before the first freeze in your area, drain hoses and pipes to make sure there is no excess water. Turn off any water shutoff valves, stow away any hoses, turn off water spigots on the outside of your home, and seal any water leaks.

7. Seal your ducts.
Don’t forget this tip for winterizing your home: Ensure that you have properly sealed ducts throughout your home. Sealed ducts prevent heat loss, and also protect against mold and dust. They can also save you money on utility bills — up to $140 annually, according to the American Solar Energy Society.

8. Check your thermostat.
For every degree you lower your thermostat during the winter, you could save between 1 and 3 percent on your heating bill. Try turning down your thermostat every time you leave the house. After all, why pay for heat when you’re not home?