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Winterizing Your Home? Save Even More by Renting Tools
(ARA) - As the weather cools, homeowners see fall as the year’s last chance to do home maintenance to lower heating bills. Of course, you will not save money if you spend more on home improvement than you will save in reduced energy costs.

Always do the math to make sure you will recapture money quickly. For example, buying tools for a specific home improvement job may mean that job is not cost-effective. For many homeowners with realistic home improvement budgets, renting is the answer. You can find the tools and equipment needed for any home improvement project at your local American Rental Association (ARA) member store.

“You can rent the right professional-quality tools for virtually any home improvement task,” says Christine Wehrman, executive vice president and CEO of the American Rental Association. Cheaper than buying, renting tools allows homeowners to put their home improvement dollars toward materials, rather than equipment or storing tools that are not used on a regular basis. Rental stores are also a great place for free expert advice about tools, how to use them correctly and how to best complete your project.

Here are some cost-effective winterizing tasks for the interior of your home:

  • Insulate your home and wallet. Too little insulation is the most significant cause of heat loss. Most homes, even newer ones, can use another layer. In the attic, experts recommend at least 12 inches of insulation. Pink layers of fiberglass, purchased in rolls, can easily be layered over existing insulation.
    For exterior walls, a special pneumatic pump blows insulation into the space between the exterior and interior walls. The insulation can be purchased at a lumberyard. To rent a pneumatic pump, visit RentalHQ.com to find a local ARA rental store. The rental store employees are trained on the proper use of equipment. They can demonstrate how to safely and correctly use the equipment and give advice on how to avoid hazards associated with fiberglass insulation.
  • Block leaks. On a windy day, search for drafts around doors and windows. Use a standard caulking gun to apply caulk to areas where there is a gap or draft. Apply it in dry weather warmer than 45 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the caulk from swelling with moisture and ensure that it adheres and sets properly. For some areas, such as under doors, weather stripping or putty may be easier to apply.
  • Maximize your heating system. Furnaces need to be serviced annually by a professional to be sure they are working at maximum efficiency. But there are also a few tasks you can do yourself.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. It takes less energy to warm a cool home than to maintain a warm temperature all day. Set it so the temperature is lower when you are away. Also clean air filters, heating ducts, baseboard heaters and vents regularly. Dirt blocks airflow and causes the furnace to work harder. To clean your ductwork without hiring an expensive company, rent a powerful, commercial-grade vacuum cleaner and special attachments to dislodge the dust and debris that gets released into the home from your supply registers.
  • Blanket the water heater. For a small investment, you can significantly reduce the amount of heat lost by the unit with an insulation blanket or cover, particularly if your water heater is located in an unheated area or if it is an older model. Insulating blanket kits for water heaters are inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Check chimneys. Cleaning your home chimney may seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be if you have the right tools for the job. Chimneys should be cleaned before the soot build-up reaches 1/4 inch thickness inside the chimney flue. You will need a chimney brush or blower. Consider renting the equipment you will need – including drop cloths to protect the inside of your house from soot and dust. Once the chimney is clean, you can safely augment your heating system with inexpensive wood cut from overgrown trees in your own yard. If you do not need a chain saw on a regular basis, renting a chain saw instead of buying one can help keep expenses down.

Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available tool rental products and services to meet your project needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Locator above.

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