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5 tips to get your home through the winter more comfortably

As you've likely stayed indoors more over the past couple of years, you may have realized there are things about your home that need to be changed or upgraded. Rising heating costs may also have you concerned about the upcoming chilly winter months. With cold temps already here, it's important to be sure your home is ready - and that your family will stay sufficiently warm and comfortable throughout the coldest time of the year.

Follow these tips to help you stay warm, save money - and make your home eco-friendlier.

1. Check for leaks

If your home leaks heated air, it might be straining your HVAC system - and costing you more money to keep your home warm. You may also notice that certain areas of your house are much colder than others. Common culprits for leaks are windows, doors and under-insulated attics. Check windows and doors to see if they need updated weather stripping or repairs to help seal air leaks. You can also improve your attic insulation.

Not sure where the problem lies? Most utility companies offer energy audits that can help you find the trouble spots in your home.

2. Arrange for an HVAC tune-up

If it's been a year or longer since your last HVAC cleaning and tune-up, it's important to have a professional come out and look at your system. A tune-up can help to prevent future problems, check for safety issues and help keep your heating costs lower. Being proactive about maintaining your HVAC system will help ensure that your family stays warm and comfortable, no matter how low the temperatures go this season.

3. Upgrade your HVAC system

HVAC technology has improved substantially in recent years, so you would likely benefit from upgrading now - before you experience an unexpected failure.

When you're looking to upgrade your HVAC system, ask your contractor for a system using inverter technology like those from LG Electronics. Unlike conventional systems where the motor technology switches between operating at 100% or being completely turned off - which is very inefficient -systems with inverter technology work to match the heating needs of your home's environment to consistently maintain comfort levels and maximize efficiency.

Another huge advantage? Inverter technology offers the ability to apply zoned and personalized heating and cooling only where you need it - whether the living room, home office or bedrooms. Imagine having the ability to warm your bedroom at night without having to heat the whole house or cool your home gym to 68 degrees while leaving the nursery at 75 degrees. An HVAC system with inverter technology is also quieter, more cost-saving and more energy efficient than a typical HVAC system.

When upgrading, choose ENERGY STAR® certified appliances or systems. ENERGY STAR certified systems, such as LG's systems with inverter technology, can trim up to 30% off your energy bill, and with many states also offering rebates for ENERGY STAR systems and appliances, you can add even more cost savings.

4. Protect outdoor HVAC units

Make sure the components of your HVAC system that are outdoors are well protected from the elements. For example, having a roof over the unit, protective fencing and/or raising the unit to keep it above the snow line are some easy ways you can help your system continue to work well.

5. Invest in a smart thermostat

If you don't already have one, consider installing a smart thermostat to help you better regulate temps in your home to keep everyone comfortable, while also lowering energy costs. A good smart thermostat can learn your home's patterns and adjust to your family's needs, which means, for example, that you won't be overheating your home when nobody is there.

With these tips in mind, you can help ensure that your home will be cozy, comfy and warm, all winter long.

Courtesy of Brandpoint Content