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10 Money-Saving Tips to Prepare For Ohio's Cold Months

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Winterizing tricks to cut energy costs this season for home and office cleaning in Columbus

Did you know you can waste up to 30 percent of your energy budget each winter on drafts alone? While you’re digging into fall home and office cleaning, don’t forget to look ahead to the winter months. Prepping for frigid temperatures now can put big bucks back into your pocket when the seasons change.

  1. Clean out your gutters. This adage comes back around every fall. But listen up—making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later. Once the leaves have fallen, make sure to clean out the gutters as ice jams aren’t just annoying, but will actually cause water to seep into your home.

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  2. Flush the water heaterBob Vila warns that particles and sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater over time and obstruct the unit's efficiency. Simply flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the matter. The best part? It’s 100 percent free.

  3. Winterize your A/C and water lines. We love this tip because it can even put some money back in your pocket come the warmer months, as well. Just drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes, and make sure there’s no excess water pooled in equipment.

Next, turn off your A/C water shutoff valve (if it has one), make sure any hoses are drained and stowed away, and turn off exterior water spigots. Finally, make sure to remove any A/C window units to prevent winter drafts from jacking up heating costs.

  1. Clockwize ceiling fans. Ceiling fans aren’t just for keeping cool during Ohio’s blazing summer months. Reversing your ceiling fans to move clockwise, pushing hot air pooled on the ceiling back into your living space, can save you as much as 10 percent on your heating bill.

  2. Replace filters. It's important to replace or clean furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Popular Mechanics warns that dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand—while regularly replaced filters can significantly improve your central air and heating system’s efficiency and longevity.

    Pro tip: Electostatic filters trap around 88 percent of debris (compared to disposable fiberglass filters’ 10 to 14 percent success rate), and are much better at controlling the bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen that cause illness and irritation.

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  1. Window insulation film: Window insulation film can keep up to 70 percent of your heat from escaping out of windows, and is essentially invisible when installed correctly. This simple and inexpensive step can go a long way toward adding a buffer against drafts and extra still air space.

  2. Draft guards:According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average home can waste 5 to 30 percent of its heating costs on drafts. But tried-and-true draft guards (also known as draft snakes) can help stop heat from escaping under the door. Even a rolled up towel placed at the bottom of an exterior door will help save you some bucks.

  3. Programmable thermostat: The bulk of your energy budget—at least half—goes toward heating and cooling costs. So the 1 to 3 percent the US Department of Energy says you can save on every degree you lower your home's temperature can add up quickly.

    If you don’t already have one, installing a programmable thermostat now can help you save money for years by keeping the temperature down when you're not around. Set your thermostat to 50 or 55 degrees when you’re out of your home or office to start saving.

  1. Caulk and weatherstrip: Simple leaks can eat up energy efficiency by 5 to 30 percent a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Popular Mechanics recommends taking a close look where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and along the foundation.

    Not sure if you have a simple leak? Ask someone to blow a hair dryer from outside around each window while you hold a lighted candle inside. If the candle flickers or goes out, you need to caulk or weather strip around the frame.

  1. Turn down your water heater: Although most installers set conventional water heaters to 140 degrees fahrenheit, the majority of homes don’t require that much heat. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees or lower could reduce your water heating bill as much as 10 percent.

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