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Is Your Home Ready For Winter?

With winter on the way, now is the best time to get your home ready for cold weather. The following tips—for every area of your home—will help minimize energy costs and keep your family comfortable all season long.

Doors and windows

  • Replace worn weather stripping around doors and windows.
  • Caulk gaps in windows and door glass.
  • Install storm doors if you don't already have them.
  • Replace older, single-pane windows with new, high-performance models.
## Insulation and sealing
  • Add or replace attic insulation as needed. See the recommended levels of insulation for your area.
  • Look for gaps around attic doors and other attic access areas, such as ceiling light fixtures. Seal with foam or weatherstripping.
  • Check for gaps in basement rim joists (where the foundation meets wood framing) and around plumbing and wiring access. Seal by stuffing with insulation or with expandable foam or caulk.
## Heating system
  • Hire a qualified professional to inspect and clean your heating system.
  • Replace your furnace filter throughout the heating season according to the manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Install a programmable thermostat; it will save energy by automatically lowering temperatures at night and when you are away from home.
  • If your heating system is older, upgrade to an ENERGY STAR® certified high-efficiency furnace or heat pump.
##  Chimney and fireplace
  • Hire a qualified professional to inspect and clean your chimney.
  • Repair or replace a loose-fitting fireplace damper to prevent heat loss through the chimney.
  • Keep the damper closed whenever the fireplace is not in use.
  • Install fireplace inserts, covers, glass doors or flue sealers to prevent heat loss through your chimney.
## Outside
  • Replace missing or damaged roof shingles.
  • Clean the gutters and make sure downspouts point away from the house.
  • Make sure the flashing around the chimney and vent pipes is sealed tightly.
  • Trim tree limbs that touch or hang over your house.
Looking to save more? A home energy audit is a great way to uncover energy losses in your home and find opportunities to lower your utility bills this winter and beyond.

Image source: iStock

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