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Nov. 25, 2022—Want to stay warmer this winter if the power goes out? These tips from the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can help keep you safe in a cold-weather emergency. And, as an added bonus, they may even help lower your annual heating and cooling bills by as much as 30%.
Keep the cold out
- Remove window air conditioners.
- Install storm windows when the temps start falling. Don't have them? Cover the inside of windows with plastic instead. Look for a window insulation kit at your local hardware store.
- Add caulk or weather stripping around outside doors and windows.
- Keep furniture, drapes or carpeting away from baseboard heaters or radiators to keep the heat flowing.
- Own your home? Consider insulating your attic and walls.
Homes need checkups too
If you have a working fireplace, you should have your chimney or flue inspected every year, according to CDC. Another annual check: your heating system. A professional technician can find and repair air duct leaks and make sure your system is working smoothly.
Take time now to make sure you're up-to-date on DIY home maintenance too. For example:
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if you don't have them. CDC recommends testing batteries monthly and replacing them twice a year.
- Change your furnace filter regularly. According to HUD, dirty filters can make your furnace less efficient. (Be safe and turn off the fuel supply and electricity first.)
Plan ahead for winter storms
Winter weather can be a hazard at home and on the road. Learn how to prepare your home and car for winter's worst.
- American Red Cross. "Winter Storm Safety." https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm.html.
- American Red Cross. "Winter Storm Safety Checklist." https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDF_s/Preparedness___Disaster_Recovery/Disaster_Preparedness/Winter_Storm/WinterStorms.pdf.
- Benefits.gov. "Tips for Saving on Home Energy Costs This Winter." https://www.benefits.gov/news/article/416.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Preparing for a Winter Storm." https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/beforestorm/preparehome.html.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter." https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/winterweather.
- National Weather Service. "Prepare for Cold Weather." https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold-before.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Find Relief from Winter Energy Bills: It's as Easy as 1, 2, 3." https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/DOC_10714.PDF.