Preparing your home for the winter months
With winter right around the corner, bringing with it that cold arctic air, officials say now is the time to make sure your home is prepared.
Emergency services officials say they see two big hazards in winter. One is house fires caused by chimneys and furnaces that are not swept following the summer season.
"There has a tendency to be creatures, either birds or other types of animals that nest in chimneys… The heat rises up the flu, up the chimney, and sets the debris that's in the chimney on fire, and then you wind up with it causing a house fire," said Worcester County Director of emergency services Fred Webster.
The other big concern during the winter is making sure pipes are insulated.
"You'll find that pipes will crack and flood crawl spaces or basements," said Webster.
A quick tip to avoid broken pipes is to leave your facets dripping overnight.
Besides keeping you and your home safe, winterizing can also help your wallet.
"People can save a lot of money," said Webster. "They don't have to run their heat as much if they make sure the insulation around their windows and their doorways is good."
One of the keys to helping you save money are your windows and doors. Inexpensive solutions can mean big savings.
"There are any number of foam type appliances that go on the bottom of a door, the edge of a door to help block out the cold air coming in through the door," said Webster.
Other tips to help you save money this winter include changing your furnace filters, running fans in reverse, and caulking and insulating windows.
Turning the temperature down on your water heater from 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, (or lower), can help you save six to ten percent on water heater costs.
Most households pay 50 to 70 percent of their energy bill on heating and cooling. By turning your thermostat down by one degree, you can save yourself between one and three percent of your budget.
Finally, one simple solution is to wear extra layers inside. Roughly speaking, a light sweater is the equivalent of two degrees of added warmth, a heavy sweater can be an added four degrees.