Keeping Cold Air Out = More $ in Pocket

Winter is coming! Make sure that your house is ready for the freezing temperatures. By being prepared, you can save money on your heating bills and save headaches from burst pipes and damaged roofs, gutters, and walls. One of the easiest ways to reduce your heating bill is by preventing the warm air inside from leaking outside. Start by making sure that all of your doors and windows are in good condition, then caulk and weatherstrip around them. Ensure that your walls and ceilings are sufficiently insulated. Rugs on floors and heavy drapes at the windows can also protect against cold drafts.

Keep your heating system operating efficiently for both safety reasons and energy savings. Get your furnace serviced regularly.

A real winter nightmare – and a costly one – is frozen pipes that then break and flood your house with water, causing extensive damage to your house and belongings. Prevent pipes from freezing by identifying those located in unheated areas, then insulate them and wrap them in heat tape. Also, periodically run a small trickle of water from your hot and cold faucets and open the doors of cabinets with water pipes running through them. This is particularly important if the house will be unheated for extended periods of time, such as when you and/or your tenants are out of town.

An often ignored winter problem is the potential for ice dams to form, which can damage the roof, gutters, walls, interior ceiling and even items inside the home. Ice dams occur during melting/freezing cycles, when melted water and ice can work up under the shingles, eventually seeping into the building. To prevent ice damming, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves and sticks in the fall, then clear snow and icicles from them all winter long. Make sure to keep the buildup of snow on your roof to a minimum, using a long-handled roof rake if needed to pull the snow off the roof. All winter long, keep gutters and down spouts clear of snow and icicles.

For additional simple tips to save energy, check out suggestion on Rensselaer County’s website at http://www.rensco.com/how-to-ave-energy-in-your-home/

Assistance in Paying Heating Bills
As of yesterday, November 2nd, applications for assistance in paying home heating bills through HEAP (the Home Energy Assistance Program) are being accepted. The income limits for eligible households have been raised since last year; a family of four with an annual income of up to $46,837 is now eligible. Households that are eligible can receive one regular payment and may be eligible for a second emergency payment in certain cases. HEAP is available both to renters and to homeowners. More information about the benefits and terms can be found at http://www.myBenefits.ny.gov or at https://www.rensco.com/departments/department-of-aging/home-energy-assistance-program-heap/ or by calling (518) 270-3935.

Safety Tip: When you changed your clock this weekend, did you remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide monitor?