It's cold outside. Is your home ready for the coming winter?
Drafts in your home can be annoying, but they can also make your energy costs soar.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing drafts in your home can lower your energy costs from 5 to 30 percent.
Wall Street Journal columnist Wendy Bounds appeared today on "Good Morning America" to talk about cheap, easy ways to winterize your home and save yourself some money.
Click HERE to find out about tax credit and weatherization programs in your state.
If a draft is near a thermostat, it can cause the thermostat to actually turn on your furnace when it's not necessary. Bounds said she likes and uses double-sided draft stoppers like the Twin Draft Guard.
The products work on doors and many windows. Bound said you can cut the length of foam to fit your door or window and then slide it underneath the frame. The product has a draft guard on either side, and you can use it on most doors as long as the threshold doesn't prevent you from closing it.
You can also stop smaller leaks around windows with some DIY caulking. There are some new products to make the job easy and affordable.
For example, the brand new Practecol Door and Window all-in-one caulk kit, currently available at Target, features a 6-ounce tube of water-resistant, paintable caulk that is suitable for indoor and outdoor use with an easy-to-use applicator tool built into the cap.
The tube contains enough caulking for numerous small repairs or for doing one entire door or window, Bounds said.
Price: $4.99 at Target
Larger jobs may require more caulk. Groov, a new product from GE, is good even for those who have no caulking skills. It performs like silicone, so it doesn't shrink or crack, but it can be painted within 30 minutes of application, Bounds said.
It's less sticky that most caulks, so it doesn't get caught on fingers and hands.
Price: About $8; available at most major home improvement retailers
It's a good idea to remove window air conditioner units for the winter. You can get a window insulation kit such as the 3M Indoor Window Kit to cover the area. The kit contains a plastic sheet that can be stretched over the window. You can blow dry the plastic for a tight fit.
Price: About $20 at most major home improvement stores
For those of you who may be up to a bigger job, now may be the right time for new insulation.
If you do it now, you can get tax credits to upgrade your insulation, fireplace or furnace but don't wait too long. Those credits expire at the end of the year.
Nearly one-third of all homeowners who participated in a recent survey said they planned to install insulation in the next two years. Whether it's in your attic or in walls that are open, if you're doing a renovation, insulation can make a huge difference in comfort and energy bills.
There's money to help homeowners make the project affordable. For instance, bulk insulation products can qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit up to $1,500 through year's end, so long as products come with a manufacturer's certification statement. The tax credit offer ends at the end of December.
Retailers are offering incentives for the purchase of insulation. A recent promotion by Lowe's offers customers a gift card of between $100 to $200 if they buy a certain type of insulation.