Winterize your home, save money and improve your health this winter


(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Has Old Man winter knocked at your door yet this year?

Amber Leverette of the Kalamazoo County Action Agency (KCCAA) says if your house is winterized, you probably shut him out and kept warm air in your home and more money in your wallet.

"Your house will have good indoor air quality, it will be comfortable, you will you save on your energy bill, it will be all around healthier for the occupants of the home," said Leverette.

The Kalamazoo County Community Action Agency has a weatherization team that showed us how to winterize your home. They will help with everything from getting weather stripping to help seal around doors and windows, keeping warm air inside your home, to better sealing your crawl spaces to make sure cold air, or even worse, moisture that could lead to mold come through and into your home. These are steps that anyone and everyone can take come winter-time.

Some of these tips, like putting plastic over your windows, can save you almost $20 per window by covering them up in plastic. The KCCAA goes into homes and provides this kind of service for free for qualifying residents, helping them save big bucks on energy bills.

"It can make quite a bit of difference, we've seen with some of our clients 60 percent savings on their monthly energy bill," said Leverette.

Some tips from Jeff Short of the KCCAA for saving on that energy bill and improving air quality:

  1. Furnace Air Filter - You can change your furnace air filter every three months, that usually only costs anywhere from $0.50 to $5. Check the MERV rating on the filter, the higher the MERV rating the more partials that it can catch and will give you better air quality while your sealed indoors all winter long. You can also buy multiple at a time so you don’t forget to change them.
  2. Light Bulbs - LED bulbs are the way to go. Over time you will save money on buying LED light bulbs because they last 25 times longer then incandescent. When buying light bulbs, look for that energy star logo on the box, those bulbs last months, even years longer than others saving you from having to buy new ones.
  3. Thermostat Settings - When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours and save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills. To help change that setting everyday, you can get a programmable thermostat ($25-$100) or a smart thermostat ($169-$250) installed on your home.
  4. Windows & Drapes - During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows. You can also wrap your window frames in plastic to help provide another buffer against the cold, and trap warm air inside.
  5. Air Seals - Sealing your windows with weather strips or caulk, on average, could save 10-20 percent on your bill.

Common air sealing spots:

  • Doors and windows
  • Box sills
  • Attic and crawl space accesses
  • Recess lighting
  • Chimney, or flues (use sheet metal and heat resistant caulk or foam)
  • Outlet covers on exterior walls (use foam)
  • Behind trim and windows
  • Fire place (keep damper closed when not in use)

Holiday cheer is no excuse not to save energy, the experts tell us that using LED Christmas lights will make that extra bump on your power bill for decorations go from $10, down to just about $0.25 per strand.

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