Cost-Effective Ways To Keep Cozy This Winter

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Cold, winter temperatures are definitely here, and that means it's time to winterize.

There are several things to do to cut back on utility costs and make your home more efficient.

"The first thing you should do is clean your furnace filter. We tell our customers that every time they receive a gas bill from us, they should check their filter," said Doug Mann, president of Energy West. A dirty filter, clogged with hair or dust, will cost you more money in the long run, he said.

Hot water heaters in the garage or outside should be wrapped in a blanket to help hold in the heat. "Put an insulated blanket around it. It's an inexpensive thing to do and it really helps," said Mann.

"If you have teenagers, or people who like to take long, hot showers, you're working your hot water heater a long time, and that costs you more money in the long run, too," said Mann.

Harvey Clifford, salesperson at Ace Hardware, has another suggestion. He recommended people use a product called Electric Water Pipe, which he says is known as heat tape. It's wrapped around a portion of the water pipes and keeps the connections warm.

"Last Monday, with the deep freeze we had, we helped a lot of people with pipes that burst. If people used heat tape, that would prevent many pipes from freezing up," he said.

Both Mann and Clifford suggested that people seal up cracks around their windows and doors.

"Caulking around windows and door frames will help a great deal," said Mann. "Anyplace you have an opening into the house, you need to fill it to keep heat from escaping," he added. Mann said a lot of people stretch a sock, or place a pillow at the bottom of the door to help hold in the heat.

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Ace Hardware's Harvey Clifford recommends homeowners wrap their hot water heaters with a special blanket. He said it helps hold heat in the tank and allows it to work more efficiently.

Mann said another way heat is lost from a house is the use of ventilation fans.

"If you leave your exhaust fan on too long in the kitchen or bathroom, you're creating a type of vacuum and forcing your warm air outside and letting cold air come in," said Mann.

Be careful children aren't running in and out and leaving doors open. "If you're leaving doors slightly open, you're just warming up Payson. So, make sure you keep your doors closed tightly," said Mann.

For those with a home or cabin not used much during the winter, Clifford recommends pouring a type of antifreeze in the toilets and sinks to prevent pipes from bursting. He suggested not using regular antifreeze as it corrodes pipes. Instead, he advised trying a product called Winter Fresh 50 RV Antifreeze, which is not too hard on the water pipes.

Ways to winterize

  • Check furnace filter monthly, change if necessary
  • Put insulating blanket around hot water heater
  • Seal windows and doors
  • Turn off exhaust fans
  • Set thermostat back when not at home
  • Don't take long, hot showers
  • Use anti-freeze in sinks and toilets

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