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2010-02-17 / Columnists

Help your home ward off winter’s chill

You bundle up your family to brace against the cold weather. It’s time to make sure you home is bundled up against winter as well. You bundle up your family to brace against the cold weather. It’s time to make sure you home is bundled up against winter as well. (NewsUSA) - When you feel that special nip in the air, you know it’s time to pull out your woolen sweaters and warmer jackets. But are you taking steps to keep you home cozy through the winter?

Winterizing your home will not only keep you more comfortable, but also minimize your heating costs. In some cases, winterizing can also help improve your home’s safety.

Before curling up with some spiced cider, take the following steps to winterize your home:

•Check all windows and doors for drafts. A poorly insulated home lets warm air out and cold air in, making heating systems work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. All that extra energy translates into higher heating bills. Look for cracks around windows, doors and perimeter walls. If you notice gaps or cracks, buy a caulking gun or home insulation kit at your local hardware store, then put it to use.

•Clean all ducts and vents. Clogged vents increase energy costs and can pose fire hazards. Inspect your dryer, clogged dryer vents cost homeowners an extra $18 to $24 every month and cause 15,500 fires each year. Most manufacturers suggest that you clean your dryer vent once a year, so make it part of your winterizing process. One company, Dryer Vent Wizard (www.dryerventwizard.com), professionally inspects and cleans clothing dryers, ensuring a safer and more energyefficient home.

•Check your pipes. Pipes that lack proper insulation can crack and leak, damaging your home. Thoroughly drain all garden hoses before putting them in storage. Drain air conditioner pipes, and turn off your air conditioner’s shut-off valve. Hot water composes a hefty chunk of your utility bill, so consider purchasing a water heater blanket for your water heater. Make sure that all hot water pipes are insulated. You can purchase heat tape or pipe insulation at hardware stores.

•Clean your heating system. If your HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) has clean vents and filters, it will produce more heat more efficiently. Consider hiring a professional service to make sure that your HVAC runs efficiently this winter.

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