Cold Weather Is Coming

Winterizing a home can save money and keep you warmer this winter

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Remember last winter and all those sky-high utility bills?

Want to forego that pleasure this winter and save a whole lot of money?

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Caulking with silicone can seal off drafts and save you money.

It might be time to think about winterizing your residence.

Temperatures in Payson and surrounding communities have dropped in the last couple of weeks to around 75 degrees during the day and as low as the mid 30s at night.

Dan Hopple, manager of the Ace Hardware, 507 N. Beeline Highway, saidsaid there are a lot of things the average person can do to prepare their home or apartment for the coming colder weather.

Granted, Payson usually only gets two or three inches of snow on average, but that doesn't mean residents won't feel the cold of winter if they are not prepared.

Hopple said one of the best money saving winterizing things a person can do is to put fresh weather stripping around their doors and windows.

"There is a lot of heat loss around the edges of doors and windows," Hopple said. "Weather stripping only costs about $14 for a roll that will seal a couple of doors or windows and it can make a huge difference in keeping a house warm in the winter."

He said the caulking around windows should also be inspected and replaced if needed because weather stripping and caulking is typically what gives way to the stresses of weather.

Replacing the caulking and weather stripping around windows not only can save money in heating bills, but it also helps to keep out water and insects, Hopple said.

Another area that should be of concern to homeowners and apartment dwellers is furnaces, he said.

Old gas heaters can become loose and even develop leaks, Hopple said.

"Some gas heaters in older homes can be dangerous to use, it would be wise to have any gas heater checked out by trained professionals to make sure they are in proper working condition, so a house fire doesn't get started," he said.

Hopple said freestanding and fixed wood-burning fireplaces and stoves should also be inspected and cleaned before being used, because creosote could build up in the chimneys.

"They can actually kind of explode and you would have a flame shooting out of the top of your chimney if it has become heavily coated with creosote," Hopple said.

He recommended either buying a chimney cleaning brush and cleaning the chimney, or hiring a company.

A look in the phone book offers no less than five licensed heating contractors in the Payson area who are qualified to inspect and install heating equipment.

APS also offers incentives for homeowners to winterize their homes and will come out and inspect equipment free of charge for new homeowners as well.

APS can be reached at 474-2204.

Hopple said a resident with a freestanding fireplace or wood burning stove with a round steel stovepipe going up through the ceiling should replace it rather than trying to clean it out, because the steel pipe can not be safely cleaned with a brush.

"They use a thing like a chain attached to a motor that spins around inside the chimney to clean it out and the round steel stovepipes used on freestanding units won't stand up to the beating," he said.

Water heaters are another area of potential winter savings, Hopple said. By installing a water heater insulation blanket, significant savings can be realized, he said.

A water heater insulation blanket helps to maintain the temperature of the water in the heater thus reducing heating costs, because it is not turning on as often, to keep water hot.

Water heater blankets can be installed on either electric or gas water heaters, Hopple said.

Even more savings on utilities can be realized by putting a timer on water heaters, he said.

"A timer only lets the heater turn on at certain times," he said. "You can set it to heat water only during the times you will need it, like if you take baths or showers in the evening or in the morning, you can set it to heat water for that specific time and stay off the rest of the time and save a lot that way."

Hopple said wrapping water pipes or installing a freeze protection cable are good ways to save money and keep pipes from bursting and costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars to repair.

Gaps around pipes leading from the outside of a home to the inside should also be sealed, Hopple said.

"Expanding foam is a really good way to seal up the gaps and holes in walls and around pipes," he said. "You just squirt it in and let it expand and dry and then trim it off and it seals completely".

Double-pane windows can also offer significant savings in heating bills, but they can be expensive, ranging anywhere from a couple hundred dollars for a small window to thousands for larger ones.

A kit now on the market from offers an inexpensive alternative to expensive double-pane glass windows.

The kit contains easy to fit, shrink-to-fit plastic insulating material that substitutes for the second pane of glass and offers almost the same heat savings as double-pane windows.

You simply install the frame around your window according to instructions, and after putting on the clear plastic covering, you use a blow dryer to shrink the plastic to fit tightly on the frame.

This seals the window, in much the same way as double-pane windows.

Putting a cover over window air conditioning units is another good way to save money and keep out the cold, Hopple said.

The tips offered here are just some the things an average homeowner or renter can do in about one weekend to save money on utilities and stay warm before the cold weather sets in.

There are a multitude of other things that can be done by either the individual or by hiring a licensed contractor to come in and make a residence more energy efficient, so get moving and winterize that home and save some money.

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