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5 Things you can do now to save you money this winter

Author James Dunsford
Submitted 26-10-2010

With temperatures becoming cooler in many parts of the country and the official start of winter just a few months away, many fathers are starting to think about how much heating their homes during the cold weather is going to cost.

While prices for natural gas, which is used to heat 70 percent of the nation, continue to be low and are falling, the price of heating oil is up about 16 percent over last year.

But there are things dads can do now to avoid paying more than necessary this winter.

1. Have your furnace serviced. Schedule an appointment with a HVAC professional to make sure your heating system is operating at maximum efficiency.

2. Stock up on filters. If these get clogged with dirt, they restrict air flow and cause your furnace to burn more energy which costs you more money. These need to be changed once a month to keep your heating system working efficiently.

3. Get the fireplace ready. Hire a professional to clean your chimney and make sure that the seal on the damper is in good condition and closes tightly when the fireplace isn't being used.

4. Check doors and windows for leaks. Schedule an energy audit or simply caulk around windows and replace weather-stripping to keep the cold air out.

5. Install a programmable thermostat. This will help you use the heat only when it's necessary. GoodHousekeeping.com reports that for every degree you set your thermostat back over eight hours, you’ll save about 1 percent on your heating bill each year. A programmable thermostat makes forgetting to turn the heat down a thing of the past!

Experts say most people are comfortable with the heat set between 72 and 74 degrees. If you or your children are still cold, use warmer clothing and blankets to keep warm.