Prepare to Save Money this Winter

by Angelita Williams
(Houston, Texas, USA)

It's that time of year frugal readers! We've got a respite from the heat of the summer. The weather is pleasant, temperatures have dropped comfortably, and we have plenty of time before winter sets in. The frugal homeowner knows, then, that now is the time to take advantage of this mild weather in order to prepare for the coming cold. So, if you're looking to cut a little cash off of your bills this winter, consider taking the following steps:

1. Service Your Heating and Cooling Systems

If you haven't had these checked recently, you should consider calling in a professional to evaluate and service your systems. While this might cost you a little up front on labor and supplies, you'll save more money by avoiding the high expense of replacing an entire system should it fail unexpectedly. Plus, a sudden failure of your heating system in winter could spell disaster, especially if your pipes freeze and break.

Smart homeowners know that by regularly servicing their systems they can control costs much better than if they wait for them to break down. Regular maintenance keeps you informed as to the reliability and projected lifespan of the system, thus allowing you to start budgeting for the replacement cost in advance. Furthermore, with regular service, you can improve the efficiency of your systems, thus saving you a little bit on your heating and cooling bills. Something as simple as replacing your filters every season could make a difference.

2. Seal and Insulate your Home

An energy-efficient home should be insulated with the most appropriate insulating material possible. Check your attic and basement for proper insulation levels, and if needed, add more. Also, you should check for drafts around outside doors and windows and seal those with quality weather stripping. If you have a chimney, you should consider having a technician clean the flue (if you have a wood-burning fireplace) and make sure it seals properly when not in use.

While some people prefer to replace old windows with new, energy-rated ones, this may be a very costly investment with no great return on the heating and cooling bill. If you wish to avoid that risk, you can always use plastic coverings or heavy drapes to protect your home against inefficient windows.

3. Adjust your Routine

Finally, keep in mind that once it gets cold, you can change a few things in your daily routine to save some money on your heating bill. If possible, drop the thermostat to 20 degrees during the day and wear warm clothing around the house. When you leave the house for a longer period of time, you can comfortably drop it to 13 degrees. Use ceiling fans to circulate warm air throughout the rooms of your house by changing the rotation of the blades to pull warm air down the sides of the walls and into the middle of the room. This setting will be the opposite of what you use in the summer to blow air down into the middle of the room.

These may seem like minor actions you can take, but they will certainly help out. As you know, every little bit counts!

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online college courses
. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7

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