Save on utility bills by winterproofing your home: consumer alert

Electricity bills are expected to rise this winter as prices for natural gas, electricity, heating oil and other energy sources continue to soar.

So make sure your home is winterized and your heating and air conditioning systems are working efficiently to keep the air clean and avoid blackouts. While you can pay a lot to have a professional technician look at your system and change the filters, you can do it yourself.

“A dirty filter can release these particles into the air and eventually damage your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system,” Consumer Reports’ Dan Wroclawski told CTV News Toronto.


First start your oven and make sure hot air is coming out of the vents.

To replace your filter, make sure the replacement filter is the correct size – you can see the dimensions on the side of the filter. Make sure to mount it in the right direction, which should also be indicated on the edge of the filter.


Not only does your furnace filter deserve attention, your heating system also removes moisture from the air that can cause itchy eyes and dry skin. For this reason, if you have a humidifier, make sure it’s ready for another season too.

“A good humidifier goes a long way to keeping you comfortable, but you need to empty the tank daily and clean it regularly to prevent bacteria from developing,” Wroclawski said.

In general, drain, rinse and dry the tank daily and weekly, thoroughly clean the machine with vinegar and water, scrub the base with a toothbrush and rinse well.

The tank can be cleaned with a combination of water and vinegar, and you can check the owner’s manual for how often to replace the filter or wick.


Air purifiers are designed to filter the air in a single room, not the whole house, but they can’t work at full capacity unless the air is pulled through a clean filter.

It should usually be changed every six to twelve months, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


With energy costs rising, you should also make sure all your windows are tightly closed and spend some time checking for air leaks.

Investing a few dollars in caulk strip or spray foam can save you on heating bills this winter.

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