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DEP Encourages Winterizing of Homes

With colder, winter weather on the way, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging residents to stay safe and warm this winter by winterizing their homes which can keep you warmer while using less energy and costing less money. The DEP offers the following tips to keep your home running efficiently:




Set back the thermostat. Each degree lowered can save up to 3 percent on heating. A programmable thermostat, which cost as little as $20 at a local hardware store, can be programmed to be setback automatically at designated timeframes, saving you more energy and money.
Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators regularly and make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
Weather-strip windows and exterior doors where you can feel air leakage. Check the bottom of the door to see if there is a gap. If there is a gap of a quarter inch or more, significant air can flow in and out of the house. Install a door sweep on the bottom of the door. Weather-stripping for the windows and doors is available in foam, rubber, vinyl and metal. For homes without storm windows, consider purchasing a window insulator kit. Install insulating drapes or curtains for windows that still feel drafty after weatherizing.
Use the sunlight to heat your home by opening the curtains on south-facing windows during sunny days and close all curtains at night.
Check the door to the attic to make sure it seals well and closes tightly. Some manufacturers make insulated attic covers.
Do not heat unused spaces, other than as needed to prevent freezing of pipes. Close vents in unused rooms.
If you have a wood stove, be sure to clean the flue vent and inside of the stove regularly.
If you have a furnace, have it checked by a heating professional. This will make the unit more efficient and provide peace of mind that it is running safely. A heating professional should check the exhaust flue and venting to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to replace the air filter as directed to keep the air in your home clean and the unit running well. A properly maintained furnace can result in a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption.
If you have a fireplace, reduce heat loss from the fireplace by keeping the damper closed. Install tempered glass and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room. Check the seal on the fireplace damper and ensure it is snug and add caulking around the hearth. It is a good idea to have a carbon monoxide monitor as well.
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