Steps to winterize your home in the midst of a winter blast

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Bone-chilling temperatures outside mean your furnace will get a workout inside.

But you can do some simple things to keep your heating costs under control.

"Windows are a barrier to the outside cold. They can help you and they can hurt you," said Randy Spector of Missouri Gas Energy.   

When it comes to cutting heating costs, Spector recommends opening the drapes and blinds to windows during the day to let the sun warm the home, especially with southern and western exposure windows.  At night, he says it is best to close them.  Drapes and blinds can add a layer of insulation.

If you use plastic to cover windows, Spector recommends putting the plastic along the window frame, away from the glass.  That way you can create an air space between the glass and plastic.

"You have the insulation of the plastic and you also have the air space in between. That will help increase the energy efficiency value," Spector said.  

When it comes to the furnace, have it serviced regularly.  Also check the filter each month by holding it up to a light.  If dirt blocks the light, it might be time to replace the filter.

Fireplaces are a source of heat.  They can also suck the warm air out of your home.

Spector says always to close the damper and the glass door when not in use.

Spector's number one tip is to close off rooms you never use during the winter.

"The smaller the space you are trying to heat, the more efficient you are going to be," he adds.

Finally, always invest in a carbon monoxide detector and place it in a room that is often used.  The device can save lives. 

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