DECEMBER 4, 2006 - Posted at 3:06 p.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR - Winter doesn't officially start for nearly three more weeks, but you certainly wouldn't know it from the feel of things outside this week.
Bitterly cold temperatures have arrived in Region 8, and if you haven't winterized your home yet, now is the time to do so.
"To save on energy, homeowners need to make sure their gaps are filled and they have proper insulation," said Denise Davis, who heads up the hardware department at the Home Depot store in Jonesboro. She says you don't have to spend a lot of money to prepare your house for the winter, just buy the right stuff. "The stuff to fill holes in your windows and doors so cold air doesn't get in...that saves on your utility bills."
There are several products available for protecting your pipes. They range from items as simple and cheap as a $5 outdoor faucet cover, to a $35 electric heat cable. "A lot of people are asking for heat tape to wrap their pipes with," said Davis. Heat tape is wrapped around your pipes and plugged into an electrical outlet to keep them from freezing, and if you wrap it around a hot water pipe, "it doesn't have to work as long to heat the water up. The water doesn't go through a cold pipe, it goes through a warm pipe," Davis added. The tape runs about $35 for a 30-foot length and is most effective when used on piples located in the crawl space. "All the air gets under the crawl space. It would be at your advantage to wrap your pipes if you have them underneath your house," she added.
Davis says she's seeing more customers taking a pro-active approach to winterizing their homes this year. "Even though it's not full winter yet, people are actually coming in now to protect their pipes for long-term usage."
Another way to protect your pipes is to insulate your water heater, and Davis says an effective way to save on energy costs is to install a programmable thermostat. "It helps adjust your heating and air so you don't constantly turn it up to 68 or turn it down. It does it for you."