Walingford, Connecticut (PressExposure) December 30, 2008 -- As winter approaches and consumers keep a close watch on their expenses, a small investment can save homeowners hundreds of dollars a year by winterizing their dwellings.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Hotton Scarpetti, says routine wintertime maintenance makes good economic sense.
âThere is uncertainty over the future of energy prices, so many people are worried their budgets may take a hit when the temperatures drop, however a small outlay can increase the heating efficiency of a house and reduce overall heating costs.â
Your BBB has put together a home winterizing checklist.
Furnace: Ensure furnace air filters are clean, and hire a professional to ensure the furnace and thermostat are working properly. If your furnace is older than 15 years, it may be due for replacement.
Heating Ducts: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a centrally-heated home can lose as much as 60 percent of its heated air before reaching vents if ductwork is not clean, well-connected and insulated, or travels through unheated spaces. Ducts should be cleaned every two years, and insulation added to exposed ductwork.
Chimney: Before lighting-up for the first time this year, homeowners should have the chimney inspected for animals, leaves and other debris. BBB also recommends installing a screen over the chimney opening.
Gutters and Ridge Vents: Clean gutters to prevent buildups that would cause rainwater to clog, freeze and damage the gutters. Ridge vents also should be cleaned to allow the house to âbreatheâ correctly, otherwise inside air will stagnate.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Because the furnace can be a primary source for fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, BBB recommends testing them and installing fresh batteries. Detectors more than ten years old should be replaced.
Caulking and Weather Stripping: A planning and design company, The EarthWorks Group, estimates the average American home has leaks that amount to a nine-square-foot hole in the wall. To get rid of the leaks, inspect caulking around windows and doors and check for cracking and peeling. Your BBB also recommends making sure windows close tightly and do not leak air through worn weather stripping.
Emergency Kit: Be prepared for blizzards, blackouts and other winter storm-related problems by keeping emergency supplies in one place. These would include flashlights, candles, matches, a battery-operated radio, first aid kit, bottled water and non-perishable food. BBB recommends keeping a similar kit in the car with extra blankets.
Finally, donât forget to turn off and drain outside faucets to prevent ice damage to plumbing. It is also a good time to get the shovel and snow blower out of storage and make certain they are in good repair.
You can find more on winterizing your home and other helpful money-saving tips at http://www.bbb.org