As the days are getting cooler our utility bills shift from high electrical costs to high gas costs as we switch from air conditioning to heating our homes with gas.
As part of preparation for winter check your chimney damper to make sure it is closed. I learned this the hard way when, after three years in our new home, I discovered my damper had been left open for three heating seasons. This meant that I was spending a lot of money sending heated air straight up the chimney. In my case, my use of gas went from 258 therms for the month when I discovered the open damper to 131 therms for the same month the following year when my damper was closed.
Chimney balloons that seal off the chimney more effectively than just a closed damper are available. Here’s a web site where you can get one plus learn a lot more scary things that can happen if your damper is open or doesn’t close tightly. http://www.chimneyballoon.us/chimneyballoon.html (Greening Neighborhoods doesn’t endorse this site, so investigate before you buy). Just remember to open your damper every time you light a fire and close it again when the fire is out.
For more tips on winter weatherizing visit Greening Neighborhoods, Lower Heating and Cooling Bills.