Dec 012004
Authors: Megan Buettgenbach

With cold weather rolling in, it is time to prepare houses for winter.

"The two most important reasons to winterize your house are to be comfortable and to reduce your heating bills," said Doug Swartz, energy services engineer at Fort Collins Utilities.

There are many ways to inexpensively improve a house's heating.

"If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed," Swartz said. "It can be a big leakage problem."

Another way is making sure all doors and windows are closed.

"I keep the window shut," said Sabrina Baugh, senior music education major. "It is an old house and doesn't have good insulation. The poor insulation keeps our heating bill up."

Swartz also suggests making use of natural resources.

"Take full advantage of the sun," Swartz said. "Open window curtains when the sun is shining through, and then close them when it is not."

Students living off campus can put plastic around their windows to increase insulation.

Lowering the thermostat at night can also save on heating costs, however, it is important to keep it warm enough that house pipes will not freeze. Usually, around 65 degrees is a good place to keep the thermostat at, Swartz said.

"You can get a 3 percent saving on your heating bill for every degree you turn your heat down," Swartz said.

Others find different ways to stay warm.

"I have a space heater that I put in my bathroom," said Amanda McKinley, a junior health and exercise science major. "It is like a sauna, and I go in there to read."

One important thing for students living off campus to remember is the city's ordinance about snow obstructions.

According to the city of Fort Collins Web site,, "residents are required to shovel sidewalks within 24 hours after a snowfall ends. If a sidewalk is not completely cleared of snow and the city shovels or applies ice melt, there will be a cost to the property owner."

For Andy Weakland, a junior business major, shoveling in front of his house is key.

"It is a big deal (so we're) not tracking snow into our house," Weakland said.

Swartz also reminded students to make sure their heating registers are not covered by furniture so the heat can get into the room.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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