By Peg Augustus

Winter is here, and there are a few home maintenance things you can do to help keep your home toasty without running up your energy bill. Take a look: 

  1. Replace your furnace filters. That’s an easy one – right? A clean filter allows your unit to work more efficiently, saves energy costs, and improves air quality! 
  2. Run your ceiling fans in reverse. Many fans come with the capacity to reverse the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise cools a room, while clockwise circulates the warm air near the ceilings back into the living space to warm things up!
  3. Turn Down Your Water Heater. While many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by installers, most households don't need that much steam and end up paying for it—in dollars and the occasional scalding burn. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or lower) would reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent.
  4. Eliminate drafts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use. Start simple and adopt that old Great Depression fixture—the draft snake – or door stopper. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door or make a more attractive DIY draft snake. Or head over to Etsy to see both beautiful and whimsical designs! 
  5. Give Your Heating System a Tune-Up. You probably already know that cars need periodic tune-ups in order to run their best. Well, the same is true for heating equipment. Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5 percent of heating costs. The good news is many utilities offer free annual checkups by qualified technicians—but you often have to call early, as HVAC crews get backed up once heating season starts. Some furnace manufacturers and dealers also offer free or discounted inspections.

That’s five great ways to keep warm this winter. Helping homeowners get the most from their investments, in big ways, and in small ways is what I do. If there is ever anything I can do to help answer your real estate questions – let me know! I am here for you!