For most households, the cost of heating will be going up this winter.
Home heating costs are expected to rise by 23 percent for heating oil, 18 percent for natural gas, and 10-11 percent for propane and electricity, according to the Energy Information Administration.
In these tough economic times, winterizing a home can increase energy efficiency and reduce overall heating costs after a small up-front investment, the Better Business Bureau says in the article "BBB Checklist for Winterizing Your Home."
Among the items the bureau includes in its checklist are:
- Make sure your furnace filter is clean, the thermostat is working properly, and the pilot light is functioning.
- Arrange to have your heating ducts cleaned every two years.
- Hire a chimney sweep annually to clean your chimney if you use a fireplace or wood stove.
- Clean your gutters to prevent clogs that would cause rainwater to backup and freeze.
- Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Inspect caulking around windows and doors for cracking and recaulk, as needed.
- Drain water from garden hoses and air conditioner pipes and drain gas from the lawnmower.
- Locate show shovels and plows and make sure they're in good repair.
- Check or create an emergency kit, which should include flashlights, candles, matches, a first aid kit, bottled water, nonperishable food, and a battery-powered radio.
For details, see the bureau's checklist.
Copyright 2008, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist