Tips to save money in the coming winter

Dear Readers: The change in seasons is the perfect time to consider your home and look for ways to SAVE MONEY ON YOUR ENERGY BILLS. Here are some hints to help:

* Inspections are critical. The heating and cooling systems and filters should be looked at by your heating and air-conditioning company.

* Windows are a big source of air leakage, and a foam sealant can fill in cracks. This could be a do-it-yourself project with some ideas from the home-improvement center.

* Check your refrigerator, too. Run the vacuum hose attachment over the rear coils, and keep the bottom dust-free. Wipe out the gasket and check for cracks, too.

These hints will help keep your home energy-efficient for the cold winter months ahead. Check with your utility company for even more ideas. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Homeowners should make sure their address is easily visible from the street. I have had to call friends to ensure I was at the correct house because the house number was not visible at night.

This could be a potentially dangerous situation if an emergency response vehicle (e.g., ambulance, police, fire company) had to take extra time to find your address. — Beatrice G., Hazleton, Pa.

Check with your city government to see what it recommends, and for hints on painting your house number on the curb. — Heloise


Hi, Heloise: I enjoy your column. Whenever I buy an article of clothing with an extra button included, I write a description of the article and the month and year I bought it on the price tag, and staple it to the little bag containing the button.

I keep all of these in a box. Every year or two, I go through the box and pull any buttons for articles to go to donation. This method also helps me find the extra button I need quickly. — Karen D. in San Antonio

Great attention to detail, Karen! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I wanted to do something special for my beloved mother when she passed away; silk flowers fade quickly.

I found twinkling solar lights, and I thought this was the perfect thing to put by her headstone. The twinkling of the lights in the evening made a joyful sight. — Helen J., Columbus, Ohio

My condolences on the loss of your precious mom, Helen. Moms are the best. Readers, how do you honor your parents who have passed on? — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Why do people call and not leave a message? I may just be in the yard, with the dog outside or in the shower. Please leave me a message! — A Reader, Youngstown, Ohio


Dear Heloise: Every time I get a safety pin from the dry cleaners, I store it in a little tin that once held breath mints. You never know when you’ll need a safety pin, and it recycles both the pin and the tin. — Nell F., Ellsworth, Maine


Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Letters won’t be answered personally.