Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Despite the fact that they are in the business of selling energy to customers, utility companies, like Columbia Utilities and others, actually prefer customers to reduce their energy consumption by preparing for each season. With winter months approaching, there are a few tips you can take now that could reduce your energy bills over the cold months ahead.

Get Your Heating System Inspected

An inspection of your heating system will cost between $80 and $100, but it can save you far more than that in reduced energy costs. A system that is operating properly will provide you with heat at less cost than one that may have a problem, even if that problem is minor. In addition, the technician will also check for carbon-monoxide leakage. Schedule the appointment when the weather is still warm to avoid being placed on a waiting list during the busy season.

Caulk Around Windows and Doors

Caulk around windows and doors can crack or break, leading to cold air entering your home. If there are any gaps between door or window frames that are larger than the width of a nickel, reapply exterior caulk. Silicone caulk is best for use on the exterior as it won’t shrink and will not be affected by elements.

Clean Gutters And Divert Water

Clogged gutters can lead to leaks and ice dams that may cause water to enter your home. They can also cause damage to the roof, siding or wood trim, especially in areas were hard freezes are common. Most gutters can be cleared of leaves and debris with a stepladder, but if you are unable to use a ladder or your gutters are too high, consider hiring someone to do it for you. The typical cost for cleaning gutters is between $70 and $225, but the cost far outweighs the possible damage caused by clogged gutters. In addition, add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least four feet from the foundation. You will also want to turn off outdoor faucets. If the pipes freeze and burst, significant damage can occur.

These are just a few tips that can help you reduce your energy costs and protect your home from damage during the cold winter months. Other tips include testing your sump pump and calling in a chimney sweep if your home has a fireplace. By performing these tasks now, you will be better prepared when the winter winds begin to blow.

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