If you're dreading the rising utility bills that come as temperatures drop, you're not alone. For many of us, keeping our homes warm without spending a fortune can be a challenge. You may not be able to change the weather, but you can get your home ready for winter. Try out these expert tips for winterizing your home just in time for cold weather.


Look for Air Leaks


Drafts are major sources of heat loss. Check around your baseboards, windows and doors for gaps, cracks and other causes of air leaks. Caulk or otherwise fill in gaps where needed. Spaces around pipes are also common places for loss of heat in the home. Insulating your hot water pipes with material made for this purpose increases the temperature and prevents pipes from bursting during very cold weather.


Block Those Drafts


Once you've taken care of those leaky walls, entryways and pipes, boost your draft protection with some inexpensive fixes. Whether you make your own or buy them, draft snakes or draft blockers help keep cold air from entering. Place on drafty window sills or in front of exterior doors; twin draft blockers that fit under the door offer extra protection. If your weather stripping isn't up to the job ahead, replace it too. For even more draft resistance, cover sliding glass doors and windows with thermal window film. Replace your usual window treatments with draft-blocking thermal curtains.


Maintain Your HVAC System


Make sure your heating system is in tip-top shape before winter gets fully underway. Routine maintenance can help prevent heater breakdowns in the middle of winter. Your HVAC tech can spot potential issues, both large and small. Catching minor problems before they become worse can save you a lot of money, both by preventing expensive repairs and by improving the efficiency of your furnace or boiler. A simple routine maintenance call can also ensure that you and your family stay toasty when you need it most.


From regular heating system maintenance to using household accessories to block drafts that can rob your home of precious heat, you have plenty of money- and energy-saving tools at your disposal. Take advantage of every opportunity to ensure warmth all winter long while staying on budget. Shop around for the best deals on everything from thermal curtains to window film. Choose your HVAC company wisely as well, opting for a firm with a great reputation and friendly staff members.


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