COUNTRY LIVING > HOME: Apt, House or Homestead

Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

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Elle Mae:
Everyone, from the Old Farmer's Almanac to Joe Bastardi at WeatherBell, is saying this winter is supposed to be worse than last winter.  What are you doing, or have you already done, to get your home ready for the snow and cold?  Do you have additional suggestions to those listed below?  What specifically have you tried that did, or DID NOT, work well for you?

The Alliance to Save Energy offers tips to cut your energy bills, increase home comfort, and decrease pollution simultaneously.

    1. Make sure your furnace receives a professional "tune-up" each year. Clean or replace air filters once a month and help your unit run more efficiently.

    2. If you are replacing your heating or air conditioning systems, major appliances, electronics, or windows, look for the Energy Star label for the most energy-efficient models. Households that replace existing equipment with Energy Star products can cut annual energy bills by 30 percent. (<www.energystar.gov>)

    3. Tired of awakening to a chilly bedroom every winter morning? A programmable thermostat will automatically coordinate your home temperature with your daily and weekend patterns to increase comfort and monetary savings.

    4. Make sure your attic and/or ceiling are well insulated—as well as the rest of your home. Seal joints in attic air ducts and make sure they are well insulated too. If the appropriate insulation were used in all U.S. homes, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association estimates that the energy saved would be equivalent to a 46-day supply of gasoline for the entire United States! (see <www.naima.org> for detailed insulation information)

    5. Don’t like coming home to a dark house on those short winter days? Instead of leaving lights on, put timers on a few of the lights in your home, or install motion detectors on exterior floodlights to improve your home security. After you get inside, the sensor will "remember" to turn the lights off.

    6. Thinking of upgrading the quality of those rattling windows? Ask your supplier for energy-efficient windows with double panes and low-emissivity coatings so you can star gaze in comfort this winter.

    7. Let nature do its work and allow the sun to help heat your home by keeping blinds of sun-exposed windows open in the daytime and closed at night.

    8. Consider landscaping around the home. Planting evergreen trees on the north side of a home can block winter winds.

    9. Think "warm" thoughts – Thanksgiving turkey, hot chocolate, and how you’ll be sweltering again next summer and dealing with big air conditioning bills if you don’t plug the air leaks in your home.

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