Daily Dupaco

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Seal up budget leaks through home winterization

Ready or not, Midwest winter weather is here

The colder temps creeping into the forecast is a reminder of the assault Mother Nature can take on our heating bills. But it's not too late to make your home winter-ready.

Alliant Energy spokesman Justin Foss offers four easy ways to reduce your energy bills during the winter months ahead:

  1. Turn down the thermostat. When you're not home, you can turn it down to as low as 55 degrees. You'll see the biggest payoff when you're gone for four or more hours.
  2. Reduce drafts. It's not too late to make sure the seals around your doors and windows fit properly. If your windows are leaking air, use shrinkable plastic wrap to help seal them. Consider replacing the door sweep if your door leaks air. 
  3. Have your furnace serviced. Have a qualified service technician inspect your furnace. It's better to find a problem now rather than during subzero temperatures. "A lot of people think it's a waste of $70, but there are critical pieces in there that the average homeowner doesn't know the inner workings of," Foss says. Find out whether your natural gas provider offers rebates for this important maintenance step. 
  4. Save money with space heaters. Space heater manufacturers often claim that their product can save you money on your energy bill. But that only happens when you turn down your furnace while using the space heater. And, don't forget to turn off the space heater when you're done using it.

On a safety note, carbon monoxide poisoning can be especially dangerous during the winter, when our homes are sealed up tight.

"Take a look around your house and make sure everything is the way it should be," Foss says. "And we'll get through this winter as we do all winters as hearty Midwesterners."

By Emily Kittle

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