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Secure your home against the chilly season

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POSTED October 21, 2011 12:01 a.m.

With winter approaching, the leaves drop to the ground and the temperature begins to plummet, but your heating bills move in the opposite direction - ‘tis the season of high heating costs. According to early reports, heat and oil prices will continue to rise, which can cut a large chunk out of your home heating budget this winter, if you’re not careful.

It’s not too late to do something in the battle against rising heating costs. You can start by winterizing your home, plugging up the leaks and drafts that deplete energy - and your family budget. Here’s your money-saving strategy:

•Start early - When the weather is still balmy, take care of the places outside your home where the uncomfortable chill of new seasons can creep indoors. Then, move inside to ensure there are no “holes” in the house where the chilly drafts of winter can hide.

•Be prepared - Rounding up products in the fall that will ensure comfort and warmth is a DIY task that is easier than you think. With the affordable, easy-to-use tools on the market, the job is doable in a weekend. Try these products for a sure victory in the heating cost battle:

For interior and exterior doors, there’s Duck brand Double Draft Seal. Engineered to hug the bottom of a door or window from both sides, the seal offers two layers of protection from drafts. It has exclusive adjustable straps to keep the seal from sliding and getting stuck in the door. The seal is designed to work on a variety of floor types and features abrasion-resistant, washable fabric. It works well on windows as well. The window can be closed onto the flat middle section for a snug, double sided seal.

Stop drafts through windows by using Duck brand Roll-On Window Kits, which provide an airtight seal against the energy-sucking winds of winter. These kits are practically invisible, come in a variety of sizes, are easy to install, fit snugly to your window frame and can be easily removed come spring. You might also consider dressing your windows for the winter. Thermal drapes, blinds or other window clothing can protect not only your windows and your family’s comfort, but your finances as well. If you are able to make a more costly investment in window replacement, double glazed windows provide the best protection against wind and ice.

For outdoor faucets that freeze from frustrating cold winds, consider covers that insulate and protect. Faucet covers can help prevent pipes from freezing and save on expensive repair work. Duck brand offers two kinds of faucet covers: a rigid foam version and a flexible, insulated version. These faucet covers work on a variety of faucet types.

Layer up - As the winds of November cause you to wear extra layers, it’s time to think about insulation for your home too. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that homeowners can typically save up to 20 percent of heating and cooling costs (or up to 10 percent of total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists. Discover the best products available, such as foam or eco-friendly ways to do it yourself. Insulation does not require maintenance, upkeep or adjustment, so it’s a reliable member of the team that will secure your home from the frigid weather.

Protect the warmth - Make sure your furnace is well maintained, which means cleaning filters monthly to maximize their efficiency (and save money). At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool - wasting energy. A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. According to EnergyStar, a properly programed thermostat can save about $180 every year in energy costs.

Plug the holes through walls - Select Duck brand Socket Sealers to combat the cold air that invades your home from indoor and outdoor electrical outlets and switch plates. They are easy to install and made from flame retardant foam. Rubber, foam or silicone weatherstrip seals can also be used to insulate around doors and windows and keep your home comfortable and cozy.

Make yourself a promise this fall - you will close the door on heat loss, slam the windows on energy drain and reward yourself with ample savings throughout the winter. Improving your household’s energy budget will help keep your family warm and comfortable, so start early. Rest assured the tools to be victorious over energy loss are better than ever, the steps are simpler than imagined and the results are almost immediate.

For more information and tips to protect your home and your wallet from the weather that can drain your energy usage, visit DuckBrand.com/HomeSmart.

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