Our first outrageously cold night is in the books, and unfortunately, it will not be the last. Let’s talk about some ways to make sure you, your family, and your house are safe and snug for the full force of the coming winter.

One of the first (and easiest) to do, is check your exterior doors for drafts. It's surprising how much energy is lost to doors that are not properly sealed. Use a 'Draft Snake' or replace the weather stripping on your door and screen door to help.

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Very similar to checking your doors, make a sweep of your windows. Make sure your windows are properly caulked, you may cut your heating bill dramatically. Also think about the drapery on your windows. On those clear cold days, the suns rays can really warm up a room, but when the sun goes down make sure to close your drapes and use them as another layer of insulation.

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Insulation. Many older homes have little (if any) insulation in the attic. Adding insulation to your attic (walls and floors, if accessible) can make a huge difference in winter, AND summer. Insulation can be a big job, if you are able to get into your attic and roll some out it will make a big difference over the winter months. Likewise any open walls or floors you might have, like an unfinished basement or garage, for example.

Certainly one of our biggest worries during the winter is freezing pipes. Making sure you have pipe insulation, (and even heat-tape) it can save you from a burst-pipe nightmare. Also when talking about insulating pipes, make sure you have an insulating cover on your hot water heater. (it's also recommended to turn your max-heat down a degree or two in the winter as well, it could save you some money)

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Hopefully a few suggestions help you keep the chill off this winter, and from there you might make a few notes about things to do over the summer. Things like a more thorough job of insulation, calling for an energy audit, and maybe installing a programmable thermostat. Stay warm!

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