With the temps cooling off a bit this weekend in the Chicagoland area, it made me realize that summer is officially over. And fall (or winter, I’m sure) is headed in. We might be turning on the heat sooner than we think. And with that, it’s important to go over some tips to save you money this winter and prevent any major problems from happening.
1. Check your furnace filter. Your furnace has to work a lot harder to produce heat (costing you more money) if you have a clogged or dirty filter. A new filter will cost you nothing compared to the money you’d be spending on your heating bill. And go to the store and replace it yourself. You’ll save even more than having a handyman do it. A good estimation is to check it monthly. If your furnace hasn’t been cleaned in a while, it’s best to contact an HVAC technician to look things over prior to it being used.
2. I know we’re not even close to being done with leaves falling. And if your trees are higher than your roof, you can guarantee that those leaves end up in your gutters. Make sure to clean the gutters out to prevent water from building up and freezing. If it’s frozen in your gutters, it can end up dripping and leaking into the house.
3. Check the caulking around windows and doors to keep cold air out. You might also want to buy one of those do-it-yourself plastic sheeting kits to add an extra barrier of protection from the cold air. Those cover windows and glass doors. You can even use them on window wells in the basement.
4. Invest in a programmable thermostat. Even if you’re not home, you’ll want to keep the heat on at least 65 degrees. This will prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting. The programmable thermostat can save a lot of money by setting it in advance to turn down when you’re gone and back up right before you get home.
5. If you have a fireplace, make sure to close the damper when you’re not using it. If the damper doesn’t close well, you can put some insulation in to close it off. But please remember to remove it before starting a fire!