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A Do-It-Yourself Guide to preparing the home for cooler temperatures

Is your home ready for cooler months ahead? Follow these tips from Larry Cavalier, Technical Service Engineer from 3M, to help you save both energy and money this fall and winter.

  1. Install window insulator film on drafty windows. Heat loss and condensation may be reduced by using window insulator film on both interior and exterior windows and doors. Worried about blocking your view? 3M™ Window Insulator Kits feature the clearest window film available. Taking this simple step can help save you money throughout the heating season.
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    If you plan to use window insulator film outside, you'll need to install it when the temperature is at least 50°F. Don't wait for the colder weather to arrive, or you may not get a good seal.
  2. Give doors a tight seal. Loose caulking isn't the only way drafts and moisture can enter your home. They can slip under and around doors, too. Install foam or rubber weather stripping on the sides and a vinyl sweep on the bottom of each door to help prevent drafts.
  3. Seal leaks around windows and doors. Walk around the outside of your home and search for caulk that's cracking and peeling from windows and doors. Pay special attention to southern-facing windows and doors, which receive the most sun exposure (and are most prone to wear over time). Scrape off damaged caulk and apply fresh caulk in its place.
  4. Replace worn-out windows. Old, drafty windows are hard to seal completely against the cold. Consider replacing them with more energy-efficient windows, which can help save on heating costs over time.
  5. Install a programmable thermostat. Program the thermostat to automatically lower the temperature to between 65°F and 68°F at night or during times nobody is home. During the day, set the temp at a more comfortable 70°F to 72°F. If you already have a programmable thermostat, now is a good time to replace the 9V battery to ensure it is up and running during the entire season.
  6. Keep heating vents clear. Walk through the rooms of your home to make sure that nothing is blocking the heating vents. It's okay to have furniture nearby, as long as it sits at least a few inches away. This gives the warm air room to flow.
  7. Give your furnace a tune up. Hire a professional to make sure your furnace is operating at peak performance. The specialist will adjust the burners, clean out the blower box and verify your heat exchanger isn't rusty. A rusty heat exchanger may allow carbon monoxide to be drawn into your home. If your furnace has seen better days, consider replacing it with a new high-efficiency model. After the initial investment, you'll likely spend less to heat your home over time.
  8. Change your air filter. For maximum effectiveness, replace your Filtrete™ Filter every three months to help reduce airborne particles and allergens from the air passing through the filter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this helps maintain your heating and cooling system and helps save energy at home.
  9. Check your attic insulation. Much of the heat loss from your home happens in the attic. If it's not insulated enough, you could have what's known as a "hot roof." This can result in ice dams on the roof and possible water damage inside. If you think you might need more insulation in the attic, call a professional to help with installation.
  10. Inspect your roof. Check for any missing or broken shingles. Rain, snow and ice can enter your home through these weak spots and result in water damage. Get shingles fixed now before the colder weather comes.

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