Cost-Efficient Ways to Winterize Your Home

January 10, 2014

Milwaukee, Wis. – Each winter, consumers are looking for ways tosave money 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 Ran Hoth,CEO/president of the BBB Serving Wisconsin.  “Winterizing a home iseconomical because a small up-front investment is worthwhile for months. Itincreases the energy efficiency of a house and lowers overall heating costs.”

Accordingto the Energy Information Administration,more than 90% of the 116 million homes in the United States are expected tohave higher heating costs than the previous winter. Homes heated primarily withpropane are expected to spend an average of nine percent more than last winter,and homes heated with electric heat are expected to spend two percent more.Fortunately, homeowners can reduce some of the costs by winterizing their home.

TheBBB offers the following tips for winterizing homes:

·  Caulking and Weather Stripping. To prevent air leaks, homeowners shouldinspect the caulking around windows and doors to check for cracking andpeeling. In addition, ensure that doors and windows are shut tightly and nocold air is coming in due to worn down weather stripping.

·  Ceiling fans. By reversing the direction of your ceiling fanso the blades turn clockwise, you push warm air down and force it around theroom.

·  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 workingproperly.  

·  Heating ducts. Ducts should be cleaned once every two years.Homeowners should also consider adding insulation to any exposed ductwork inorder to prevent losing heated air.

·  Emergency kit. When a winter storm strikes, anemergency kit should have all essential materials in one handy place. Anemergency kit should include flashlights, candles and matches, a first aid kit,bottled water, non-perishable food and a battery-powered radio. Create the sameemergency kit for the car as well, including a couple blankets.

·  Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxidedetectors and install fresh batteries. Homeowners should consider replacingsmoke alarms older than 10 years.

·  Gutters and ridge vents. Gutters should be cleaned to prevent anyclogs that would cause rainwater to back up and freeze, making the gutters expandand crack. The ridge vents need to be cleaned as well in order to help preventstagnate air.

·  Windows. Window screens should be taken down and replaced withstorm windows; they provide an extra layer of protection and keep the housewarmer. Investing in a window insulator kit is an inexpensive option tokeep out drafts.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the WisconsinBBB at or414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison)or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find moreinformation about how to protect themselves from scams by following theWisconsin BBB on TwitterFacebook and You Tube.


ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better BusinessBureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities theycan trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for BusinessReviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000charities, all available for free at TheCouncil of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local,independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to itsnational programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.