10/30/2014 04:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Things to Do Right Now for a Warmer Winter

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The crisp snap of autumn weather is a reminder that even colder days lie ahead. Get ready for them by performing a few simple chores now that will keep you toasty all winter long.


1. Weatherstrip Your Windows
Weatherstripping can save you up to 20 percent on heating bills --especially if you have drafty windows or doors. Plus, it's quick and easy, and doesn't cost a lot of money. Place weatherstripping along doorjambs and in the gaps between windows and sashes to keep chilly breezes out and heat in.


2. Fix Drafty Doors
If your doors need extra draft protection, add a door sweep along the bottom. These flexible rubber strips seal the gap at the bottom of the door to keep howling winds at bay. If cold air is still getting in, buy or DIY a door snake -- a tube of fabric filled with sand, rice, or other material -- to lay on the floor and plug the gap.


3. Add Insulation

The attic and basement are two spots where you can lose a lot of heat. By insulating your basement ceiling and your attic floor, you can prevent warm air from escaping the house. Also check around the exterior of your house for cracked foundation, gaps, or cable holes, and seal them or fill them with spray foam insulation.


4. Check on the Furnace
Like any piece of machinery, your furnace works better if it's properly maintained. Some utility companies offer a free annual checkup for your furnace, but if yours doesn't, it may be worth paying a technician to ensure that your furnace is in top condition. But you can also improve your furnace's performance with simple maintenance that you can do yourself, like replacing filters and cleaning registers.


5. Swap Your Thermostat
Standard thermostats can lead to wasted energy. If you opt for a smart thermostat like the Nest, you could cut down on your energy use -- and your utility bills. Among other features, these smart thermostats can sense when you're away and automatically adjust the temperature to save you money.


6. Seal Ducts
If you have forced-air heat, leaks in your ducts could be costing you hundreds of dollars. Seal them up with specially designed metal tape and keep your ducts -- and your wallet -- more secure.


7. Cover Floors
While a cool tile floor might feel nice underfoot in summer, it's not so appealing when it's sub-zero outside. Cover your floors in throw rugs and runners for the winter months. You can also hang heavy insulating drapes in front of your windows to keep warm air in and the cold out where it belongs.

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