Tips to winterize your home and keep heating bills down

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Virginia weather is famous for being inconsistent, and when it gets cold, it gets costly. This week has been a good example of how Mother Nature can quickly change her mind.

"Last week and we saw some of the coldest temperatures we have seen in decades," said Dominion Power representative, Janell Hancock. "When it's extremely cold like that, we know that we use more electricity to stay warm in our homes and businesses."

Despite the fickle temperatures, experts like Hancock insist there are still a lot of ways to be using energy wisely. According to Hancock, 30 percent of energy inefficiency in your home can be prevented just by sealing up drafts in the house.

Rehab specialist for the Albemarle Housing Improvement, Len Wishart suggested for homeowners to reduce leaks to windows, doors, and also attics and crawlspace penetrations.

"Homeowners can do that by weatherstripping, buying caulk and sealing around windows," said Wishart. "You can also get storm doors. Also, you will also want to add upgrades for the insulation."

If that sounds too intimidating, Wishart recommended air sealing your home by weatherstripping.

"Weatherstripping is also fairly inexpensive and it's also something the homeowner can install themselves," he said.

Another thing to keep in mind is how much a difference changing your air filter could do.

"Make sure you have a clean filter in there. Heating and cooling account for about 40 percent of your energy bill," said Hancock. "So you want to make sure that you are taking advantage of all that efficiency."

You should generally replace your heat pump filter every three months. Some companies even offer plans to get you heat pump serviced on a regular basis.

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