BBB says Invest Some Time to Beat Back the Rising Cost of Heating
Wallingford, CT – January 3, 2014– Connecticut Better Business Bureau says winterizing a home makes good financial sense because a small up-front investment increases the energy efficiency of a house and lowers overall heating costs.
According to the Energy Information Administration, more than 90 percent of the 116 million homes in the United States are expected to have higher heating costs than last winter. Homes that are heated primarily with propane are expected to spend an average of nine percent more than last winter, and homes heated with electricity are expected to spend two percent more.
Fortunately, homeowners can reduce some of the costs by following a winterizing checklist:
Caulking and weather stripping - To prevent air leaks, inspect the caulking around windows and doors for cracking and peeling. Ensure that doors and windows shut tightly and that no cold air is coming in through worn down weather stripping.
Ceiling fans - By reversing the direction of your ceiling fan so the blades turn clockwise, you push warm air down and force it around the room.
Furnace – If your furnace is older than 15 years, it might be due for a replacement. For newer furnaces, make sure the filter is clean and the thermostat is working properly.
Heating ducts - Ducts should be cleaned once every two years. Consider adding insulation to any exposed ductwork in order to prevent heating air loss.
Emergency kit - When a winter storm strikes, an emergency kit should have all essential materials in one place. This should include flashlights, candles and matches, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a battery-powered radio. Create the same emergency kit for the car, and include a couple of blankets.
Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors - Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and install fresh batteries. These devices have a limited lifespan, so consider replacing smoke alarms older than 10 years, before they fail.
Gutters and ridge vents – Clean gutters to prevent any clogs that would cause rainwater to back up and freeze, making the gutters expand and crack. The ridge vents also should be cleaned to prevent the buildup of stale air.
Windows - Window screens should be taken down and replaced with storm windows; they provide an extra layer of protection and keep the house warmer. Investing in a window insulation kit is an inexpensive option to keep out drafts.
For more advice you can trust, free referrals on home maintenance and ways to save money this winter, visit www.bbb.org.