When faced with winter cold, homeowners can take a number of steps to reduce how much they spend staying warm.

According to HouseLogic, lowering the thermostat three to five degrees and turning it off when no one is home could reduce heating costs as much as 30 percent, depending on where the home is located. If the home does not have one, a programmable thermostat can be used to set the temperature at different hours so that it does not need to be on all the time for people to be comfortable.

 

Home features
Particularly in older homes, there is a chance that chill may result from gaps in weatherstripping around doors and windows, thin or fallen insulation, or similar flaws. Even small openings can let enough heat escape to make heating require more energy and drive up the expense.

Attics and basements may be particularly prone to insulation problems, because they are often unfinished, allowing heat to escape. Homeowners should also check the furnace to ensure filters are clean. The sun can help warm a home during the day, particularly when blinds are open, while closing curtains at night may help trap heat.

If a home has a fireplace, residents should be sure to close the fireplace damper and seal the opening when not using it. That will prevent, or at least minimize, heat loss. Another option is to reduce the temperature setting of the hot water heater. Older water heaters, which lack insulation, may be improved with a blanket or jacket designed to help them operate more efficiently.

Home shopping
Home buyers and sellers may wish to look at these factors if they have not done so recently. People often forget to perform some regular home maintenance, but keeping the heating systems in good condition can be good for sellers when an appraiser comes by. For buyers, a home that will need repair or replacement likely represents extra time and money that may not be apparent when buying a home.

It may be difficult to check every detail when looking at homes, but buyers should make an effort to determine the condition of heating systems when considering a purchase, especially during or just before winter. Doing so can save time and money, and avoid discomfort.

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