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It's time for your winter warm-up. Save on heating costs by getting your home ready now.

When it comes to saving on home heating costs, it pays to sweat the small stuff.

Now, for example, is a good time to schedule a furnace checkup to make sure it is working efficiently, rather than waiting until the furnace kicks in for the first time. And check to see if the air filter is clean. Normal furnace filters should be changed every month and high-efficiency ones every three months.

While the weather is still mild, it's easier to tackle home weatherization projects. Check weather stripping and caulk around doors and windows to keep out the winter chill.

And for some homeowners, heat is literally going through the roof. Make sure your attic is properly insulated to help keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. It's also a good idea to check insulation in the basement and in household air ducts, exterior walls, crawl spaces and around electrical outlets.

Each year the chimney also should be inspected for creosote buildup, which could be a fire risk. And now is also a good time to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to see that they are working properly.

If you need a new furnace, look into the high-efficiency models that will save you money in the long run by burning less fuel. You may also want to consider replacing old windows with more efficiently designed models.

NEXT: Steps to meet winter head on

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by:
Cynthia Ross Cravit