MoneyWisdom Blog

11 Tips to Winterize Your Home This Fall

Posted by Hanscom Federal Credit Union on Oct 22, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Longer nights and falling leaves are the precursor to heating bills and chilly times at home. When you winterize your home now before the snows blow in, it can minimize the impact to your wallet later on. Here, ten easy winterizing tips at a variety of price points...plus a bonus tip:

Free

Here are some simple things you can do that require no financial investment...just a few minutes of your time are all that's required:

  • Open the shades. While lowered shades provide a break to summer's heat, raising them lets you take advantage of "solar heating" during winter's sunny days.  Let those rays heat your home!
  • Turn off your lights. Your parents’ refrain to turn off the lights still applies. Even with more efficient lighting (fluorescent or LED), turning off lights when leaving a room still makes good sense.
  • Adjust your hot water heater. Set the temperature on your hot water heat between 110° Fahrenheit and 130° Fahrenheit. A perfect target is 120° Fahrenheit. This simple move saves energy and prevents dangerous scalds.
  • Air dry clothes and dishes. Air drying helps to reduce costs and even introduces some beneficial moisture into dry winter air.

Low Cost

If you've got a little money to spend on winterizing, try these tips:

  • Install a door sweep. Make sure the gap at the bottom of exterior doors is sealed. A door sweep is the best way to do this, or you can make a fun one by using a necktie stuffed with batting!
  • Seal all holes and cracks with caulk. Latex caulking is easy to use and clean up. A little dab will go a long way preventing heat loss. If you have a larger hole and suspect mice may be looking for a warm place to overwinter, stuff the hole with steel wool first, then seal.
  • Change filters. If you heat with forced hot air, replace the filter as indicated by the manufacturer. A simple filter may need to be replaced monthly while a more sophisticated pleated filter can go for a longer period of time.

Higher Cost

These winterizing options also provide lasting payback, and may be partially funded after a home energy assessment:

  • Add insulation. Insulation is a simple passive addition to homes providing long term benefit. Focus on attic insulation, electrical outlet insulation and hot water tank insulation. Insulating exposed hot water pipes is simple and provides a payback. Insulation can also increase your home's value!
  • Install updated thermostats. Thermostats are a key part of your heating system and often go overlooked. Standard manual thermostats depend on human interaction to change settings. Programmable thermostats allow homeowners to add additional information about when people are expected to be home, away, or sleeping. Now the latest "smart thermostats" actually learn your schedule and preferences and anticipate when heat is needed. They also try to expand your comfort zone and slowly change settings over time, encouraging energy consumption.Programmable thermostats allowed homeowners to add additional information about when people are expected to be home, away, or sleeping. The latest "smart thermostats" actually learn your schedule and preferences, anticipating when heat is needed. They also try to expand your comfort zone by slowly changing settings over time, encouraging energy conservation.
  • Update the furnace. While a new furnace is a substantial cost, if you're heating with a furnace dating from the Dark Ages, you’ll be surprised by how much more efficient your home heating system can be, providing you with ongoing savings.

Now for our bonus tip: A home energy assessment is a great way to uncover improvement opportunities for winterizing your home. The assessment will give you a top-to-bottom review of your abode and include concrete tips, many of which you can apply immediately to realize cost savings this winter. One that we often discuss in this blog is the no-cost Mass Save® Home Energy Assessment. What we especially like about this program is that Mass Save® provides the opportunity to apply for 0% financing through its Mass Save® Heat Loan program. This is available for qualified energy efficient home improvements, such as adding high efficiency heating or water systems, improving your home’s insulation, and replacing windows. Hanscom FCU is a participating statewide lender for the Mass Save® Heat Loan program. To learn more about this program, what it covers and how to qualify so you can winterize your home wisely and economically, visit our Mass Save Loan Program page. 

Keep in mind that home heating costs are projected to continue at high levels for the next few years, so any investment you make now will pay off nicely over time.

So go forth and winterize your home with the confidence you're making a sound financial decision!

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Topics: Mass Save, Home Ownership, Green

7 Places to Get Free Flu Shots in 2018

Posted by Hanscom Federal Credit Union on Oct 19, 2018 7:57:00 AM

We’re in the thick of autumn, with leaves falling and pumpkin everything filling store shelves. We have lots to do this time of year, but there’s one task that deserves the top spot on everyone’s to-do list: getting flu shots before flu season arrives. What may make the task more palatable for you is getting your flu shots for free!

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Topics: Insurance, Money Management

Celebrate International Credit Union Day With Us!

Posted by Hanscom Federal Credit Union on Oct 17, 2018 7:18:00 AM

Thursday, October 18, 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of International Credit Union Day. This year’s theme is “Find Your Platinum Lining.” It combines the traditional gift of platinum for 70th anniversaries with a play on the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

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Topics: Credit Unions, Hanscom FCU

What to Do After a Data Breach

Posted by Diana Burrell on Oct 15, 2018 9:20:23 AM

Several years ago, a thick envelope landed in my mailbox. Its return address was that of the hospital where I’d been receiving treatment. Upon opening the envelope, I was horrified that it contained not only my own medical records, but those of twelve other patients, along with our insurance claims. For some unknown reason, the hospital had put my address on the envelope instead of the claims processor’s address.

I promptly called the hospital to report the erroneous mailing and was instructed to destroy the records, which included patient names, addresses, and their own detailed health information. Several months later, I received a letter from the hospital offering me a year’s worth of free credit protection because of their mistake. What did the hospital do beyond that to secure these wayward records? Nothing. They took my word for it that I'd destroyed the mailing. What if those records had gotten into the hands of someone who wasn't diligent and trustworthy?

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Topics: security, Online Banking, Credit Card

Five Ways We Keep Your Online Access Secure

Posted by Scott Heinz on Oct 5, 2018 11:18:00 AM

It's our responsibility at Hanscom FCU to keep your member information as safe as possible, and it's a responsibility I take seriously. Yes, I get that it can be frustrating to deal with the layers of security required to access your account information. You just want to jump on your computer to check your balance and not have to jump through hoops to do it! But rest assured, these so-called hoops are for protection of your identity and assets. Here are five important ways we keep your online access with us secure:

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Topics: security, Online Banking

How the Prime Rate Increase Affects Your Hanscom FCU Credit Card

Posted by Diana Burrell on Oct 3, 2018 2:51:00 PM

You’ve read the headlines: In the last week, the U.S. prime lending rate was raised from 5.0% to 5.25%. This rate is used by many banks as an index to set their own interest rates for consumer loan products like home equity lines of credit, auto loans, and credit cards. When the prime rate goes up, so do the interest rates on their products.

As a Hanscom Federal Credit Union credit card holder, what does this increase mean for you?

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Topics: Credit Card

Hanscom FCU Named Air Force Credit Union of the Year

Posted by Diana Burrell on Sep 26, 2018 10:47:26 AM

We're happy to announce that Hanscom Federal Credit Union has been named as the Department of the Air Force's Credit Union of the Year for 2017 in the $1 billion and above category. It's an honor that's given every year to an Air Force credit union that offers the highest quality financial products and services, as well as demonstrates membership growth and community support.

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Topics: Hanscom FCU, Military, Credit Unions

Why You Should Avoid Car Title Loans

Posted by Diana Burrell on Sep 19, 2018 9:19:00 AM

When 21-year-old Ryan learned a friend needed some cash to help his mother out, Ryan did what a good friend would do…he lent his friend the money. The problem arose when Ryan’s father, John, found out how his son had gotten the money.

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Topics: Loans, scams, Debt

Welcome Home to Our First 100% Financed Mortgage Home Buyers

Posted by Diana Burrell on Sep 17, 2018 9:08:00 AM

Like many young couples, Bryan and Allysann looked forward to owning their first home together. They quickly discovered, however, the financial requirements for home ownership can be daunting … even a bit discouraging.

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Topics: Home Ownership, mortgage

Hanscom FCU's Financial Education Programs Win Excellence Award

Posted by Diana Burrell on Sep 14, 2018 8:42:22 AM

Earlier this summer Hanscom FCU was presented with the America Saves Designation of Savings Excellence Award in recognition of our member outreach during America Saves Week, February 26 - March 3, 2018. The award was given by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, which coordinates the week-long spring campaign.

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Topics: Military, Financial Wellness

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