Tips to save money in the cold with inexpensive fixes


Winter weather can be more of a headache than just putting on extra clothes and heating the car up a little earlier. Times like this can hit your wallet and your budget pretty hard.

CBS46 Meteorologist Jim Loznicka went to Home Depot to get a few handy tips to share that could save you some money on your energy bill as winter's revenge hits Atlanta.

Jim first spoke with the insulation experts at Home Depot. They said there are many great options to insulate your home for less than $20.

You can spend a little money and possibly more than double your return on that money with the energy savings.

Assistant manager Jai Gilyard said the first area to start with is the garage. Spending $6 on a piece of weather-stripping not only keeps the cold out of the garage, but also acts as a great chill barrier for your exposed pipes.

"When you have those garages, one of the things that you can do is actually select a garage door bottom sealer," Gilyard said. "So, what this will do is similar to stopping a draft on regular door. This will stop a draft on your garage door and makes it warmer and helps protect those pipes."

When it comes to windows and doors, Jim researched weather stripping. There are so many choices on the shelf. And you have to look very carefully and do some homework before buying. But, Gillyard said there is one piece he thinks really provides great value along with energy savings.

"Vinyl foam weather seal... can be used on windows and on doors," Gilyard said. "Once you identify the draft, make sure the windows are still operable and that it stops the draft. As long as you stop the draft and can easily open your windows, you've done a good job of applying the weather seal."

It's a very easy process to get windows to act as a barricade to the cold and it can be done for under $20.

Another concern in winter weather is frozen pipes. First and foremost, you certainly want to make sure any exposed pipes are insulated either with a foam wrap or a pipe cover.

We have all heard about doing that as a protection plan. Over at Home Depot, they said it's a good idea when it turns cold to think about closing off the water at the shutoff valve. That way, no water gets in and limits your chance of a burst pipe. They also gave Jim a great tip about that garden hose you may still have attached right now.

"A frozen garden hose is 10-times worse than a busted garden hose," Gilyard said. "Once the water freezes in the hose, it expands and then the back up in pressure is sent in through the entire pipe system. If you think you had a problem before it froze, if the garden hose freezes over, you are very likely going to have a busted pipe in your home."

Broken pipes are usually the number-one, most expensive repair during cold weather episodes. If it happens over the weekend, you should expect extra costs for a weekend plumber. So, make sure to get the pipes wrapped and the hoses unattached.

Additionally, there is a change you can make with your thermostat that could help you save some money with your bill at the end of the month.

It is an expense but when you do the math, the savings potential offered by some manufacturers is up to 30 percent on your home energy bill.

A programmable, wi-fi thermostat will run you between $100 and $200. But with the kind of cold we are forecasting this weekend, you could potentially start saving about $20 just this month by using one of them.

Gilyard said, "You can control it anywhere, since it's wifi. Schedule it your way. [You get] Automatic energy savings because it is set based on your usage at home."

Jim checked with Georgia Power and the price per kilowatt hour is currently around a nickle. Cutting your usage by just 3 to 5 kilowatts per day can save you between $20 and $30 a month on your energy bill.

Copyright 2015 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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