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Easy and cost effective ways to winterize your home.

If you are anything like me, you dread getting that electric bill during the winter months. This year I researched some ways to help save on our electric bill and keep your house warmer at the same time! No need to spend a ton of money, keep it easy and cost effective.insulation

  1. Preheat your covers before bed

Let me start with one of my favorites…Put hot baked potatoes wrapped in a piece of flannel in your bed about 15 minutes before you plan to get in it. Your bed will be warm and you will have potatoes ready to make hash browns at breakfast.

  1. Insulate your light switches and outlets

To combat the cold leaks, install foam gaskets underneath your light switch and outlet covers. You can pick up pre-cut foam covers that will fit around electrical receptacles and light switches at hardware stores (about $2 for a set of eight). Since they’re pre-cut, you just need to unscrew the cover, pop the foam cover on, and reattach the light switch or outlet cover plate.

  1. Run Fans in Reverse

Most people think of fans only when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it warmer: air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space – cutting your heating costs as much as 10%! FREE

  1. Caulk

Take a close look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and along the foundation. Place a tissue paper over the suspected draft area. If the paper flutters, you’ve probably located the draft and that’s where you can caulk it up. For drafts under doors, you may have to buy a rubber draft stopper to place at the bottom of the door.

Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weather stripping.

  1. Replace Your Furnace Filter

Furnace filters, in a clean basement, can lead to a more efficient furnace when replaced about every six months. I usually replace mine when I first turn on the heat and then when I switch over to air conditioning in the summer.

  1. Plastic seal over your windows

For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware or discount store. Don’t worry — properly installed, window plastic is essentially invisible. Adding a buffer against drafts and extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home’s ability to hold heat.

  1. Programmable Thermostat

Most programmable thermostats can be purchased for $30-$70. In a cold climate, you might be able to save that much in a month alone if you set one up to be cooler while you are out of the house and at night, and warmer when you are at home. And they are easier to install than you may think (half-hour job, max.).

  1. Clean Out Your Gutters

Gutters that are dammed up with leaves can result in ice dams, which can lead to all kinds of costly outdoor repairs — damaged shingles, roof leaks, broken gutters, etc. Additionally, if your gutters are clogged up, water could be falling right next to your foundation and leads to possible flooding in the basement. This one is free, as long as you don’t fall off the roof and end up with a medical bill. FREE

  1. Drain Your External Faucets

Water that is sitting in pipes that lead to outside faucets can freeze and burst, ultimately flooding your basement and leading to possible water damage and mold problems. Simply close off the interior faucet valves by turning them clockwise all the way to the right. Then go outside and make sure that every last drop has come out of the faucet. FREE

  1. Put on a sweater

Roughly speaking, a light long-sleeved sweater is worth about 2 degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater (even the ugliest of ugly sweaters) adds about 4 degrees. So cozy up and start saving! FREE

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