Great tips to cut heating costs in cold weather

    Did you know that by sealing drafts in your home can save 3% to 18% on your heating bill?  It can according to Danny Parker, a research scientist who works with the Department of Energy.  In the Northeast region of the US, this can save a homeowner anywhere between $250 to $550 annually.  Here are some quick tips to seal those drafty areas of your home:

    • Use durable weather stripping.
      •  If you can easily slide a piece of paper between an exterior or attic door and its frame, it needs weather stripping.  Bronze strips, which cost about $20 per door, do a better job and will last for many years.  Windows can be sealed also, but they are a little tricky and may require the service of a handyman.
    • Install an automatic door sweep.
      • Sweeps are blocking strips attached to the bottom of an exterior door that prevent icy gusts from rushing underneath.  Some sweeps can scratch wood floors and catch on welcome mats as the door swings open.  Spring-loaded automatic sweeps, which cost about $11 each, lift as the door opens and presses down to form a tight seal when the door is closed.
    • Insulate the attic hatch.
      • Pull-down ladders are one of the notorious energy losers because they do not account for air sealing and are not insulated.  Both problems can be fixed with an attic tent (costs about $200), which is an insulated fabric hut.  These are installed over the attic hatch, stapled to the attic floor and zip open when you need to climb through.
    • Cover your AC unit.
      • An in-wall air condition, or a window unit that too large to remove in the colder months, will cool your home in the winter thanks to drafts blowing right through it.  Insulated wraps that are custom made to fit snugly over the unit can be purchased for about $60 each and will keep the heat in.
    • Seal remaining cracks.
      • Close all doors and windows and turn on all the fans in the home.  The fans will suck all the air out of the home, causing drafts to rush in and replace the air.  By holding a stick of incense near any gaps and seeing if the smoke sprays away, such as where the baseboard meets the floor and where the pipes penetrate the wall, you can easily identify any areas that need to be sealed in the home.  Great stuff insulating foam or caulk can be used to seal these small cracks.

    All of these tips should help save money on your heating bill and are easy enough to do without the help of a professional.

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