Better Business Bureau Offers Safe and Cost-Efficient Ways to Winterize Your Home

December 30, 2013

CHICAGO,IL – December 30, 2013 – Each winter, consumers are looking for ways to savemoney on home heating. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests ways forhomeowners to safely winterize their homes and save money in the process. 

“Highheating costs are a problem each winter when money is tight,” says Steve J.Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago andnorthern Illinois. “Winterizing a home is economical because a small up-frontinvestment is worthwhile for months. It increases the energy efficiency of ahouse and lowers overall heating costs.”

Accordingto the EnergyInformation Administration, more than 90% of the 116 million homes in theUnited States are expected to have higher heating costs than the previouswinter. Homes heated primarily with propane are expected to spend an average of9% more than last winter, and homes heated with electric heat are expected tospend 2% more. Fortunately, homeowners can reduce some of the costs bywinterizing their home. 

TheBBB offers the following tips for winterizing homes:

  • Caulking and Weather Stripping. To prevent air leaks, homeowners should inspect the caulking around windows and doors to check for cracking and peeling. In addition, ensure that doors and windows are shut tightly and no cold air is coming in due to worn down weather stripping. 
  • Ceiling fans.  By reversing the direction of your ceiling fan so the blades turn clockwise, you push warm air down and force it around the room. 
  • Furnace. Furnaces older than 15 years might be due for a replacement. For newer furnaces, make sure the filter is clean and the thermostat is working properly.   
  • Heating ducts. Ducts should be cleaned once every two years. Homeowners should also consider adding insulation to any exposed ductwork in order to prevent losing heated air.
  • Emergency kit. When a winter storm strikes, an emergency kit should have all essential materials in one handy place. An emergency kit should include flashlights, candles and matches, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a battery-powered radio. Create the same emergency kit for the car as well, including a couple blankets.
  • Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors.  Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and install fresh batteries. Homeowners should consider replacing smoke alarms older than 10 years. 
  • Gutters and ridge vents. Gutters should be cleaned to prevent any clogs that would cause rainwater to back up and freeze, making the gutters expand and crack. The ridge vents need to be cleaned as well in order to help prevent stagnate air.
  • Windows. Window screens should be taken down and replaced with storm windows; they provide an extra layer of protection and keep the house warmer.  Investing in a window insulator kit is an inexpensive option to keep out drafts.

Formore advice you can trust and free referrals on home maintenance and savingmoney this winter, visit BBB online at




As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the BetterBusiness Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolvebuyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBsalso review advertising claims, online business practices and charitableorganizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofitorganizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity beforemaking a purchase or donation.