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    Winterizing Your Home

    Before those cold winds start blowing in, you may want to read up on how to winterize your home. Winterizing your home makes your place more energy efficient so you can keep your family warm and toasty without breaking the bank on energy bills. In addition to making your house more energy efficient, winterizing your home also entails doing small chores that will help prevent damage to your home from snow and ice. It doesn’t take much to get your home ready for Old Man Winter. A single weekend is all you need to properly winterize your home.


    1. Give Your Heating System a Tune-Up

    Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5% of heating costs. The good news is many utilities offer free annual checkups by qualified technicians — but you often have to call early, as HVAC crews get backed up once heating season starts. Some furnace manufacturers and dealers also offer free or discounted inspections. If your entire furnace is in need of replacement, it will cost a lot more — but replacing an inefficient burner for a modern machine will save you every month through the heating season. Check out Xcel Energy for heating equipment rebates!


    2. Upgrade Your Thermostat

    It’s easy to forget to turn down the heat when you leave the house, but doing so is one of the surest ways to save money. Most households shell out 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling, so why pay for what no one uses? For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you’ll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill. Try upgrading any non programable thermostats to smart thermostats that can be controlled with your smartphone. Xcel Energy offers rebates on qualifying smart thermostats.


    3. Check for Drafts

    Air leaks cost money. Knowing where they are and learning steps you can take to address them can make you more comfortable and help you save energy and money. Xcel Energy offers a draft check kit that can be rented through the Denver Public Library; allowing you to see where you are losing warm air in your house. 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 weatherstripping.


    4. Change Furnace Filters 

    it’s important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. Consider switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce waste and hassle. Did you know that disposable fiberglass filters trap a measly 10 to 40% of debris? Electostatic filters trap around 88%, and are much better at controlling the bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen that cause illness and irritation. Another good choice is a genuine HEPA filter, which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles.


    5. 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%!

    Storm Door

    6. Install Storm Doors and Windows

    The simple act of installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45%, by sealing drafts and reducing air flow. Storm doors also offer greater flexibility for letting light and ventilation enter your home. Look for Energy Star-certified models. Similarly, storm windows can make a huge difference when the cold wind starts blowing.


    7. Put Up Some Plastic

    For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware or discount store. When 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. Save even more by hiring a pro to install a high-tech “low-e” film directly to the window glass.bIf your windows are old, consider investing in a set of efficient windows.


    8. Boost Insulation

    Insulation is one of the best ways to save energy and money at home. It can make a big difference to add more insulation between walls, and make sure your attic floor and basement ceiling are well covered.


    9. Insulate Your Pipes

    Pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. That can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation. (Use the same method to determine if your hot water heater would benefit from some insulation.)




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