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Winterizing programs save on heating bills
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Winter weatherizing programs offer a low-cost or free way to make fixes to your home that can add up to large savings on heating fuel.
Here are some ways to find help:
• Call your local social services for referrals to programs. Even if you don’t get any services from them, they’ll know how to contact county or state programs or can refer you to classes you can take. In Southeast Georgia, the program is normally run by Coastal Georgia Community Action Authority. For referral information, call Michael Vaughn at (912) 264-3281, ext. 130.
• Contact your utility or fuel company. Often it will do free “leak checks” to help you identify problems in your home.
• If the area where you live is even slightly rural, consider calling Rural Development, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program. If your weatherizing goals are serious enough to fall under the category of actual repairs, you might qualify for a low-interest loan or grant. To contact Rural Development and get the number for your state branch, call 1-800-670-6553.
• The Department of Energy has a weatherizing help program that’s run through individual states. Go to and click on general information, then weatherization assistance Program. In the left column you’ll see a link to state contacts. If you qualify as low income, you’ll receive a whole-house energy efficiency audit as a first step, as well as a safety check.
Whether you sign up for help through a program or do the work yourself, the main goals are to keep cold air out. At the very minimum: Use a caulking gun to seal around windows. Check your hardware store for shrinkable clear plastic sheets that go on the inside of windows. Those sheets can do more than you might think to keep cold air from coming through the glass. At the height of winter there could be a 20-degree difference in temperature on the window side of the plastic — cold air that isn’t making it into the room.
With cooler weather, especially at night, you’ll be able to tell if you have air leaks at exterior doors. Just take off your shoes and check for cold air down at floor level. Invest in weather stripping around the doors if you feel a draft. Also check wall electrical plugs to see if cold air is blowing in. Invest in plug inserts, or buy the gasket kits that block the whole wall plug.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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