READY FOR WINTER? How to weatherize your home before the cold

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- You may not get a better chance to do it, at least while the weather is still cooperating this weekend. Weather proofing your home now, will save you money and keep you warmer this winter.

Todd Steinmann is the Weatherization Director for OACAC, he knows how extreme temperatures affect our bills.

"Anytime in the seasons, that are the hottest or the coldest, you have a rise in your utility bill," said Steinmann.

There is a fix, to help offset that cost.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, weatherizing your home could save you, on average, upwards of $300 per year. You can do it yourself pretty inexpensively.

Check around windows and doors for drafts or see if sunlight shines through.

"If you see where you have gaps. that's a place where you can air seal," said Steinmann.

You can use caulk or weather stripping to easily plug these holes. Check the furnace and change those air filters.

"Things like your recess lighting in your attic, your attic hatch, attic fans, you may just have holes in your attic that needs to be sealed," said Steinmann.

Joel Alexander, of Springfield City Utilities, suggests setting your thermostat at most to 68 degrees.

"68 Degrees will help you save money, but anything you can go below that, every degree is about three percent you'll save on your heating bill," said Alexander.

While 68 degrees is the optimal temperatures, Alexander says to set the thermostat to whatever is most comfortable for you. Even with all these steps, don't be surprised if you still see you bill go up, the reason may be entirely different than what you might expect.

"If you got a lot of people in your house, visiting for Christmas or Thanksgiving, holiday lights, holiday decorations, they look great and everything, but at the same point that's going to add to your utility bill," said Alexander.

City Utilities also has rebates programs where you can get money back for installing energy efficient thermostats, new insulation, air conditioning systems. You can check the full list and find out how to apply for these rebates by going to cityutilities.net/save. Alexander also says if you are having trouble paying your utility bill, to reach out to City Utilities about your concerns as they may be able to find you new payment options.

OACAC also provides free weatherization for families with low incomes. Go to www.oac.ac or make an appointment to learn about eligibility and how to apply.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.