Hunker down button and try to stay warm

Monday, December 15, 2008

Check out Sunday's high temperature in today's paper and you may do a double-take.

Yes, the highest temperature Sunday was 43 -- but it came at midnight following a balmy 54-degree Saturday.

By daybreak Sunday, the temperature had dropped to 7 degrees on its way to 5 below by midnight this morning and continuing to drop.

It's too cold to do anything but emergency repairs outside, but if you've neglected major weatherization projects on your home, there are still things you can do to keep out the winter chill and keep your home comfortable.

If you're not using your fireplace, keep the flu damper tightly closed -- an open chimney is an efficient way for warm air to escape whether it's heated by firewood or your home's furnace.

Check doors and windows for cold air, and install weather stripping or temporarily block the drafts. For windows, consider temporary inside plastic covering until you can make more permanent repairs.

Have your furnace checked out, make sure it has a clean filter and consider installing a programmable thermostat, set at the lowest comfortable setting. Wear warmer clothing while you're home to save on heating bills.

Of course, there are many other ways to save energy bills, including replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescent bulbs.

But for now, the best thing we can do is hunker down and button up our homes as tightly as we can and try to keep warm.

And next spring when the weather warms up, think about those weatherization projects we now wish we would have completed last summer.

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