After 2011’s scorching summer, the cooler autumn months were a welcome respite. But winter is right around the corner!

Everyone likes to stay warm and comfortable, but keeping your home heated can be costly and, in some cases, hazardous. But, just a few simple steps can lead to a comfortable, safe winter without bills that will ruin your summer vacation plans.

Safety first ¬— install smoke alarms on every floor of your home if you haven’t already. Check both your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month, and replace batteries as necessary. Also, make sure you and the members of your family have an escape route planned from every room, in case of an emergency.

If you ever smell gas, do not flip any electrical switches or light any matches. Open doors and windows to let the gas escape, and leave your home. Call the fire department from a neighbor’s phone or use your cell phone once you are a safe distance from the house.

There are plenty of cost-effective ways you can supplement your indoor heating, as well.

  • Before you turn up your thermostat even more, put on a sweater!
  • If no one is in the room, the door and heat vents should be closed.
  • Make sure nothing is blocking the heat vents
  • Use heavy curtains at night to keep the cold air out of your home and open them up during the day to let the warm sunlight in.
  • Put old blankets or “fabric snakes” in front of your windows and doors so that no heat can escape from the crack at the bottom.

Some homeowners like to use alternative sources of heat, but special precautions and care must be taken.

  • Never use a stove or oven as a heat source.
  • Do not leave space heaters unattended. If your space heater is making odd noises or has a strange smell, discontinue use.
  • Keep flammable materials, such as paper, clothing, and curtains, away from heat sources.

Finally, you should regularly inspect your furnace or boiler, the main heat source to your home. A few quick steps can be taken to save money in the long run.

  • Make sure your heater and broiler are free of dust, rust or any other signs of corrosion. Any flammable or combustible materials should be a safe distance from the unit.
  • Check the air filter every one to two months. Clean or replace if necessary.
  • Call Blind & Sons to have an expert technician come to your home to inspect your heating unit. This will ensure that it is heating your home properly and efficiently and increase the unit’s life expectancy.

Don’t wait until your heating bills start to rise! Following these simple guidelines
can ensure a comfortable and budget-friendly winter.

Sources: National Association of Home Builders; American Red Cross