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On this blog we brought you tips for reducing the likelihood of filing a winter weather-related accidents. While a drafty house might not threaten the immediate safety of your property, sealing cracks and openings from cold air (and warm air in the summer) can lower your utility payments and add value to your home. 

Heating systems and air conditioning units work overtime to compensate for the loss of climate-controlled air to the outdoors. In addition to making homes less comfortable, drafty windows and doors can drive the cost of keeping your home mild through the roof. The good news is that weather sealing is an easy project that doesn't require a contractor's help. In 2015, it might be time for you to remove the duct tape from hinges and ledges and replace it with a more permanent, effective solution. 

"A typical family spends about a third of its annual heating and cooling budget — roughly $350 — on air that leaks into or out of the house through unintended gaps and cracks," writes Jeanne Huber of HouseLogic. "With the money you waste in just one year, you can plug many of those leaks yourself. It's among the most cost-effective things you can do to conserve energy and increase comfort, according to Energy Star."

Squirt foam and caulking can close troublesome gaps of various sizes that let air out and in. In the attic, weatherstripping vulnerable spots will close your home to drafts. But homeowners might be surprised by the extent of poorly sealed openings: Even recessed lighting can require a tune-up. The improvements you make to circulation and air retention in your home will lower monthly costs and increase the value of a property.