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Time to start winterizing your home

Lawton_There's a nip in the air, and jackets have started coming out of storage, air conditioners are being turned off, and thermostats are being turned to higher temperatures.  After a summer of high costs to keep cool, you probably will want to do whatever you can to stay warm while not wasting energy.  Keeping those windows and doors closed tightly is obvious, but there are other ways to save energy, and money, too. 

While you're putting an extra blanket or two on the bed, why not get a blanket for your water heater?  "It minimizes the loss of heat from the water heater and maximizes the efficiency of the hot water heater to retain its heat, so that way you don't lose any energy having to keep that hot water hot constantly," said Melissa Johnson with Sutherlands. 

While you're at it, insulate those pipes.  That water coming into your home is going to be cold, and you don't want it to freeze on the way to the water heater.  "Make sure that there's no cold air coming in from the exterior pipes coming into your house," said Johnson.  You also should make sure you cut off the water going out of your house, and disconnect all hoses.  "If you have that hose hooked up to it, it will not drain," said Mark Pippin with Pippin Brothers Inc.  "It freezes and busts and you don't know it, because it doesn't leak until you turn it on, so make sure you have your hoses disconnected.  If you have a water pipe break, or a hot water bust, those can be very costly."

However you heat your home, do not use your stove or oven to do it.  Pippin says that people frequently do that instead of having their heaters inspected.  "It [the oven] releases carbon monoxide, and it's not very energy efficient," he said.  "It's better to just turn your heater on without getting it inspected."  He says that since you probably ran your air conditioner a lot during the summer, your air filters are probably dirty, and it may be time to replace them.  "You need to change it twice a year anyway, so if your filter's clogged from running excessively this summer make sure your filter's changed," he said.

Pippin also says that if you have pets, you will need to change your filters more than twice per year - if your pet sheds a lot of dander, you may have to change it once per month.  He advises pet owners to check their filters every month, and replace them frequently.  If you have pets, don't forget to winterize things for them.  Make sure they have warm bedding, and their water is in a place where it won't freeze.

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