3 secrets to keeping your home warm this winter

Major weather forecast agencies agree—another brutal winter is on its way for much of the country. Is your home prepared for freezing temperatures? The following guide offers useful tips on how to prepare for the season ahead.

3 secrets to keeping your home warm this winter

1. Check your heating system

Whether you use oil, electric, gas or an alternative, make sure your heating system is up and running well before temperatures drop.

  • Turn your system on and make sure it fires up, and that warm air is flowing through the vents.
  • This is also the time to replace any filters that may be clogged, and perform any basic maintenance your system requires.
  • If you find a problem, be sure to call an expert to fix it well before the weather gets cold.

2. Stop drafts

Check your windows and doors for drafts—even a small leak can cost you a fortune in heating costs this winter.

  • Don't overlook your water heater. If it feels warm to the touch, you're losing heat and paying too much for your hot water.
  • Insulate the tank to save money this winter and all year round.

3. Stock up

Have a fireplace? Start chopping—or buying—wood during the fall. Stack your cut firewood with last year's logs on top so they are ready to burn.

  • Cutting wood early gives it time to dry out; ideally, the wood you chop this year won't be used until next year.
  • Make fire starters or recycled newspaper logs as needed, and stock up on matches and anything else you need to get a fire started.
  • If you suspect a problem in your chimney, or haven't had your fireplace checked in a year, this is also the time to schedule a cleaning with a professional chimney sweep.

Preparing your home for cold winter weather shouldn't take long or cost much; put aside one fall morning to get all of your prep work done. If you do discover a problem, you'll have plenty of time to resolve it before the first snowfall arrives.

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