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Winter is Coming: Prepare Your Home and Wallet

The signs of fall are on their way: the leaves on the trees have started to change color, the temperatures have begun to dip, and pumpkin spice is back on the menu. It’s only a matter of time before the leaves drop and eggnog comes back into rotation, so now’s the perfect time to address outstanding chores to winterize your home.

Winterizing promises to cut your energy consumption down so that you can save a bit on your utility bills for the season. Here’s how:

1. Get a Professional to Inspect Your HVAC System

The winter represents your furnace’s busiest time of year. To make sure it’s up for the job, call an HVAC specialist to give it a tune-up. This diagnostic check includes cleaning and inspecting your appliance to ensure it runs efficiently and safely.

Although it may cost as much as $200, a tune-up might be worth it, as it can improve your furnace’s performance to lower how much energy it uses. Try to fit this expense into your yearly budget for maximum savings, especially if you have an older furnace.

But what if a tune-up reveals your furnace needs an urgent repair? Ideally, you’ll have emergency savings set aside. Homeowners should save roughly 2% of their property value to put towards necessary repairs and maintenance.

But don’t panic if your savings fall short—online installment loans may be your safety net in an emergency. These online loans are convenient alternatives to in-person options when you’re hit with an unexpected repair.

Online installment loans may provide fast and easy borrowing options through quick applications that take minutes to fill out, so they may be an option even if you need to make these repairs right away.

2. Change Your Furnace Filter

Insert a fresh furnace filter as soon as you turn on your furnace. Every HVAC specialist will tell you the same thing — whether your furnace passes its inspection with flying colors or requires serious upgrades.You might not believe it, but a clean filter could save as much as 15% on your bills.

3. Insulate Exposed Pipes

External pipes are at the most risk of freezing, especially if you live in an area that regularly sees freezing temperatures. Make sure to drain these outdoor pipes and turn off the water line before the first frost. This little fall-time chore can save you from burst pipes in the future.

Once you’re done outside, inspect your basement to see if there are any exposed pipes inside. While these are less likely to freeze, heat loss is a more probable scenario. Exposed pipes waste heat whenever you run hot water, so insulating them with foam sleeves is an inexpensive way to save energy.

4. Check for Air Leaks

Look around your windows and doors to look for any damaged trim or weather stripping. These areas can wind up letting out all the hot indoor air, making your furnace work harder to maintain comfortable temperatures.

You can find affordable caulking or weather stripping kits at your local hardware store. After an afternoon of plugging these leaks, you may save 20% on your annual heating and cooling bills.

Work Now So You Can Relax Later

Every chore you take on in the fall can help you enjoy the winter season with less stress and more money. For more cost-saving ideas, check out this list before Old Man Winter arrives.

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