Temperatures will be dropping and heating bills will be rising for those with improper insulation.

The Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is reminding community members to take the proper steps to keep Old Man Winter from creeping through cracks in windows, doors and other places throughout the home.

“Have your heating system checked by a professional annually,” said Kelley McBride, EMA spokesperson. “This will ensure that your system is working safety and efficiently which, in turn, will save you money.”

Those who use wood as a heat source should have their chimneys cleaned and inspected regularly, she said.

“If necessary, insulate walls and the attic,” McBride said. “This will help you to conserve energy and reduce your home’s power demands for heat.”

Other tips for a properly insulated home include:

• Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.

• Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.

• Inspect and flush your water heater.

• Clean all gutters.

A programmable thermostat can help residents save up to 12 percent on their energy bills, according to information from Kentucky Utilities. Having regular HVAC inspections each year also can add up to a $50 annual savings.

There is help in the Richmond community for those who are struggling to pay their heating bills this winter.

Sign-ups for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) administered by Kentucky River Foothills began Nov. 7 and will end Dec. 16.

The Foothills Outreach Office, 123 Pine Street, will be taking applications Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The office is closed from noon to 1 p.m.

Applications also will be taken at Berea’s Russel Acton Folk Center, 212 W. Jefferson Street, Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Homeowners and renters who are responsible for their heating bills and have low- or fixed-incomes are eligible, according to Karen Bailey, public information and projects director for Kentucky River Foothills.

Visit www.foothillscap.org/Services/WX.html to learn more about the LIHEAP program or call the Kentucky River Foothills Office at 623-6514.

There also are things you can do to make sure your vehicle remains in top working order during the winter months.

“Preparing your vehicle for the winter season now will help ensure your vehicle is in good working order when you need it most,” McBride said.

Make sure to check the following items:

• Battery

• Tires

• Wipers and windshield washer fluid

• Antifreeze

• Ignition system

• Exhaust system

• Heater, ventilation, air conditioning

• Thermostat and defroster

• Lights, including flashing hazard lights

• Brakes

• Oil level

To keep pipes from freezing

•  Wrap pipes in

insulation or layers

of old newspapers.

•  Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep

out moisture.

•  Let faucets drip a

little to avoid freezing.

•  Know how to shut

off water valves.

Call Madison County EMA/CSEPP at 624-4787 or visit

www.madisoncountyema.net for more information.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.

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