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Front Page » October 21, 2008 » Carbon County News » Winterizing homes contributes to saving significant holid...
Published 2,159 days ago

Winterizing homes contributes to saving significant holiday dollars


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate community editor

With the rising cost of gas hitting Carbon County consumers' pocketbooks, improving home insulation is an effective way to insure that the financial drain doesn't impact residents as hard.

Even though the warm fall weather seems to be holding its ground in the Castle Valley region, many tasks required to properly winterize a home are best done before the cold temperatures arrive.

One of the first things listed at many online sources is the furnace.

Most experts advise local residents who rely on natural gas to heat homes to call in a professional to clean the ducts and go over the furnace.

Consumers should then insure that the furnace filters are changed on a monthly basis.

In order to save more money, many experts recommend changing older furnace thermostats to newer more efficient programmable models.

If a fireplace is used as a heating source in the home, it must also be checked on an annual basis, according to Elizabeth Weintraub in the winter preparation article at www.about.com.

Weintraub outlined several tips for getting the fireplace ready for Jack Frost. The recommendations include:

•Capping or screening the top of the chimney to keep out rodents, birds and potential debris.

•Calling a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.

Many local agencies and emergency response personnel, including Price Chief Paul Bedont, attribute the buildup of the substances in the chimney as the number one causes of home fires during the winter months.

•Buying firewood or chopping wood.

The fuel should be stored in a dry place away from the exterior of the home.

•Inspecting the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.

•Checking the mortar between bricks and the tuckpoint, if necessary.

One energy saving tip most people don't follow is reversing the switch on ceiling fans.

Almost all models have the feature and, when reversed from then summer position, the ceiling fans will push warm air down into the home, cutting down on heating costs.

Cleaning the gutters is frequently the last on any homeowner's winterization list. But according to the real estate section at msn.com, completing the task can be paramount to a home's proper winter readiness.

Clogged drains can cause melted snow and ice to build up, then seep into the home. Therefore, it is also important for local residents to check for any leaks or malfunctions in a home's gutter system before the first snow falls.

One of most obvious ways to cut down on heating costs is to make sure that a home is properly insulated and sealed from the frigid outside temperatures.

Finding smaller leaks can be a major task and different sources recommended trying everything from lighting an incense stick and carrying it around the house to doing the same thing with a lit candle.

Some common leaky areas include, a doggy door, door and window frames, some types of lighting fixtures and electrical outlets.

Once located, there are any number of products available to make certain that everything is the home is adequately sealed.

While the products are available at almost all hardware stores, local residents on extra tight budgets might try using household items to fix the problem.

Examples include using a towel rather than a custom door sweep to keep the cold out.

To prevent plumbing freeze incidents, Weintraub recommends locating the water main within the home so that it can be shut off in case of an emergency.

The weatherization expert also advises homeowners in the Castle Valley region to:

•Drain all garden hoses.

•Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.

•Drain the air conditioner and pipes. People should also shut off the air conditioning valve.

•If vacation is part of any resident's winter plan, people should make sure to leave the furnace on to at least 55 degree Fahrenheit so the pipes don't get too frigid.

Most online preparedness sources also agreed that it is of paramount importance that every family have an emergency kit and plans.

Recommendations include:

Having indoor candles, matches and a lighter readily available.

Placing important telephone numbers on the fridge or at a central location within the home.

Securing a battery pack for sensitive electronic equipment like home computers.

Building an adquate storage of bottled water and non-perishable food items.

Developing and practicing an evacuation plan for all areas of the house.

Lastly, Carbon County residents should make sure all alarms within the home have been checked as they can save the whole family from fire and carbon-monoxide poisoning. .

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October 21, 2008
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