(NAPSI)—With winter weather comes colder outdoor temperatures and the desire for a warm and comfortable home. Following these 10 tips will help you conserve energy, lower utility bills, increase the efficiency and longevity of your heating system and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home.

1. Seal your home. Inspect windows, doors and the exterior of your home for cracks or leaks. Caulk, patch or weather-strip any areas that might leak cold air and make your heating system work harder. Seal and insulate your ducts and replace screens with storm windows and storm doors.

2. Cover windows. Use drapes and blinds to reduce heat loss through windows. However, windows with direct sunlight may benefit from having the blinds up during daylight hours, as sunlight can help heat the space.

3. Clean gutters. Clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage system from working properly and lead to water seeping into your home. Be certain that dirt slopes away from your house to ensure rain or snow will drain away from the house.

4. Check your insulation. Be certain the insulation in your attic, ceilings, exterior and basement walls, floors and crawl spaces meet levels recommended for your area.

5. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. A fan that runs clockwise pushes warm air downward and recirculates it through the room.

6. Clean your fireplace and make sure your damper is properly sealed. You might also consider replacing an inefficient wood-burning fireplace with a more efficient wood stove or gas insert, or add glass doors with a heat-air exchange system.

7. Buy ENERGY STAR® products and bulbs to light your outdoor pathways or porches and save money.

8. Replace furnace filters regularly. Clean filters help to improve airflow and efficiency while lowering utility bills. ENERGY STAR®, a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recommends checking your filter every month, especially during heavy-use months, and, if it looks dirty, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months.

9. Schedule a furnace inspection. A heating professional should inspect and service your heating equipment before you begin to use it for the winter months. Heat pumps and oil-fired furnaces need annual tune-ups; gas-fired equipment can be serviced every other year.

10. Buy an energy-efficient furnace or heat pump. Furnaces and heat pumps from York® are highly efficient and meet annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) or heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) ratings. In fact, the York LX Series residential gas furnace offers up to 96 percent AFUE and features York’s industry-leading five-year Complete Assurance Limited Warranty, which provides optional furnace replacement in the event the heat exchanger fails within five years of installation. Compared to 10-SEER units, the premium 14-SEER York residential split heat pump systems save 29 percent on energy thanks to modulating/variable speed technology.

To learn more about energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) products, visit www.york.com, www.youtube.com/yorkhomecomfort and @YorkHVAC on Twitter or call (877) 874-7378.

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)