Nashville, Tenn. – Now is the time to winterize your home to reduce energy costs during the cold weather months. Take a whole-house approach to heating to keep your energy bill and your pollution output low this winter. Inspect your insulation – You often hear the amount of insulation quoted in inches of thickness, but the true measure of insulation is its final installed R-value. Most insulation has an R-value of about 3 to 4 per inch thickness. Blown-in insulation is always a good choice for an attic. Energy Star recommends an R rating of 38-60 for an uninsulated attic or an R-38 if you already have an existing 3-4 inches of insulation. Close the gaps – Keep the cold air out by sealing up any cracks on the outside of your home. Look for areas around windows and outdoor faucets that can let in a tremendous amount of cold air. Simply apply caulk wherever you see cracks, gaps or holes. Follow the same procedure inside the home. Look for cracks around windows, perimeter walls and around electrical outlets. Get a heating tune up – A professional should inspect your system every year to ensure that it is operating properly. Clean ducts and change filters on a regular basis. Wrap your water heater – Don’t let heat escape from your water heater. Insulate it with a water heater blanket and add insulation around water pipes. Keep it shut – Traditional fireplaces are an energy loser – it’s best not to use them because they pull heated air out of the house and up the chimney. When not in use, make absolutely sure the damper is closed. Seal ducts – Mostly out of sight, ducts can leak for years without you knowing it. They can become torn or crushed and flattened. Old duct tape – the worse thing to use to seal ductwork – will dry up and fall away over time, spilling heated air into your attic or under the house. Consider an In-Home Energy Evaluation to receive incentives for home improvements such as adding insulation and duct sealing.