Winter is just around the bend for Benton, Louisiana, residents. It won’t be long before you fire up the furnace to fend off the chill. And not long after that, you’ll have sticker shock from opening your higher utility bill. Fortunately, there are several simple tasks you can do throughout your home that will cut your heating costs this season.

At Your Windows

Cover your windows with plastic, and seal the edges tightly with tape. Make sure to lock them before sealing off, as locked windows have a tighter seal. You can detect drafts by holding a lit stick of incense in front of your window. If the smokes blows away from the window after you’ve covered it with plastic, apply caulk around the frame to seal it.

Buy insulating drapes to help fend off the chilly air. Open drapes during the day to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, and close them at night to keep the warm air in.

At Your Doors

Just as you would your windows, lock and cover patio doors with plastic. Check for drafts, and caulk around the frames. Inspect your other doors for light under and around the frame. If you see any, put new weatherstripping in. If your weatherstripping is in good shape at the bottom, you can raise the threshold by turning the screws in the frame counterclockwise. Make sure you can still open the door easily so as not to damage the weatherstripping.

At Your Walls

Seal outlet boxes along outer walls with caulking. These aren’t insulated and can let cool air in. Walk the exterior of your house, and check all pipes and vents for a good seal. Spray foam works well to seal holes along exterior walls.

In Your Attic

Make sure your attic insulation is adequate and in good shape. Check for light, and seal any holes with caulk or spray foam. Check the area around the attic access for spaces, and insulate as needed.

At Your Ducts

Inspect your ductwork for cracks and leaks where heated air will escape. You can seal these with duct tape. Wrap ducts with insulating tape or material to help keep the air warmer as it moves further from the furnace.

At Your Fireplace

When you’re not burning a fire, close the damper. An open chimney works like an open window, allowing warm air to escape. Install a heat-air exchange unit to blow warmed air back inside. Seal drafts around the hearth with caulking.

At Your Thermostat

Lowering the thermostat by a few degrees creates significant savings. Wear long sleeves, layers, and socks or slippers. Bump the heat down before heading to bed at night. You’ll sleep better and save money. If you have a heat pump, keep it at a moderate setting.

Programmable thermostats are a great way to reduce energy costs. You can set it and forget it. Smart thermostats link to your phone so you can manage your heating and cooling system when you’re away. These high-tech units also analyze heating patterns and make recommendations for additional savings.

In Your Utility Closet

Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Insulate around the tank to help water stay warm. Consider using an on-demand system that heats the water when you need it instead of kicking on and off all day to maintain temperature.

Have your furnace tuned up. Regular preventive maintenance improves efficiency, which lowers your heating costs. A tuneup helps identify small problems that could become big issues resulting in your heater breaking down.

Change your filters monthly, and keep the intake vent clean. If allergies and asthma aren’t a concern in your home, a simple fiberglass filter will do the job. Make sure floor vents are open, clean, and unobstructed.

At Pioneer Comfort Systems, we offer energy control agreements that include regular maintenance for your heating and cooling system. Energy control agreements are like insurance for your heating system. You pay a low annual fee and have peace of mind knowing your furnace is in great shape going into winter.

Contact Pioneer Comfort Systems at 318-965-7200 to schedule a furnace tune up or learn more about our energy control agreements.

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