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SLIDESHOW: 6 Simple Steps to Winter Savings and Comfort

  • You want to keep your family comfortable on cold winter days, and your heating system helps make that happen. At the same time, heating makes up about 45 percent of total energy use in the typical home. These simple maintenance tips won't cost you much, but they will make your home more comfortable and efficient all winter long.

  • Maintain your system

    Hire a qualified professional to inspect and clean your furnace or boiler before the start of the heating season. It will help ensure efficient performance all season long.

  • Keep filters clean

    Dirty air filters restrict air flow, making your system work harder. Replace them regularly according to manufacturer's guidelines.

  • Seal air ducts

    Over time, ducts may develop leaks, holes and poor connections. In areas you can reach, seal ductwork with mastic or foil tape. Insulate ductwork in unheated areas, such as attics and crawlspaces. Contact a heating professional if you suspect more serious ductwork problems.

  • Install a programmable thermostat

    Don't waste money heating an empty house. A programmable thermostat saves energy by automatically adjusting comfort levels based on your schedule. Smart thermostats provide advanced features, such as remote control and self-programming.

  • Close the gaps

    Openings around attic joists, electrical lines and plumbing pipes that enter from outdoors can lead to significant air leakage. Seal these areas with spray foam insulation.

  • Weatherize doors and windows

    Check for gaps around exterior doors and install weatherstripping if needed. Inspect windows for cracked or missing caulk and replace if necessary. Weatherstripping and caulk are available at your local hardware or home improvement store.

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