Fall is the perfect time to get your home in order before small problems turn into costly nightmares. Don’t pay more than you have to to keep warm this winter; follow Consumer Reports’ money-saving checklist below. These simple maintenance tips can help save you thousands of dollars in home repair costs later.
- Automate Energy Savings – Installing a programmable thermostat to lower temperatures by 10 to 15 degrees while you’re at work or asleep can trim 15 percent from your heating bill. Based on average heating costs, you can save up to $100 per year.
- Plug Leaks – Plugging leaks could lower your annual heating and cooling bills by $400. You can use a combination of products including caulk, foam board, expandable sealant, and weather stripping to help plug leaks around your home’s windows, doors and electrical outlets. But leave sealing and insulating your home’s air ducts to a professional.
- Replace Furnace Filters – Check the air filter in the furnace or heat pump each month and have a professional check the system annually. Dirty filters reduce heat and airflow, which can lead to expensive service calls and repairs.
- Clean Your Chimney – Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves get creosote buildup which can impede the flow of smoke and cause chimney fires and carbon-monoxide poisoning. If your chimney hasn’t been inspected recently, figure on roughly $150 to $300 for an inspection and a sweep.