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Winter is here and as the temperature drops and we start to stay inside more, we need to make sure our homes are prepared for the season. Here is Encor's Winter Energy Checklist. A step-by-step guide to prepare your home for the season and everything that comes after it.

Weatherstri​p your doors and windows

Purchase draft stoppers online or make your own to prevent cold air from seeping into your home, making your furnace work harder than it needs to. You can also caulk around windows and replace weatherstripping on doors that you can see light shining through around the edges.​

Test smoke and Car​bon Monoxide detectors

You should always check these regularly but when you and your family are spending more time at home, with the heat up or with things like leaving Christmas lights on overnight, it's important your detectors work and have a fresh set of batteries. ​

Add double- or triple-pane windows

Replace your less energy-efficient windows with double or triple-pane ones to improve energy efficiency all around your home. This is a smart thing to consider no matter the season.​

Clean your furnace filters

Dirty filters actually increase energy demand by restricting airflow. It's best to change them before the winter just to avoid any heating problems that could occur by not maintaining your furnace regularly, but a good rule of thumb is to change 1-2 inch filters every three months, 4 inch filters every six months and 5 inch filters every 12 months. And for aging furnaces, the average lifespan of a gas furnace is 15-20 years.​

Run your ceiling fan clockwise

Because hot air rises, it's easy to have all that warm air floating above your head. In the summer, a counterclockwise fan helps keep your home cooler. In the winter, switch it to clockwise so the fan blades push warmer air to the ground – keeping your heating bill down.​

Check or rep​lace your insulation

Insulation can wear down over time. Check your attic, crawl space and basement to see if you need to add more or replace it. You want to keep all the heat sealed in and not leave any gaps where it can escape. ​

Get a programmab​le thermostat

Turn down your heat by 10 degrees when you're not home and when you're sleeping – this can be done automatically with a programmable thermostat or a smart thermostat like Nest that you can control anywhere, anytime from your smartphone.​

Keep this list handy and check back next year when you need to do it all over again. A safe and efficient winter can make for an even safer and more efficient spring. For more helpful tips you can read more of our blogs.

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