Now that spring has officially begun, it is time to declare a winner in the first annual Anti-Freeze Challenge. Printed originally in the Feb. 1 issue ofThe NEWS, this challenge asked entrants to find a way to save money, reduce energy, and maintain comfort in the average home.

Heather Winebrenner, marketing manager for Lindab Inc., came up with the following and has been deemed the winner.

“I am a minimalist. I loathe waste. My home stays at 62 degrees day and night. That decision has more to do with my wallet than with reducing my carbon footprint. However, I have learned one tip every homeowner needs to know in order to save money, reduce energy, and maintain comfort in their home - Police your air.

Keep your air where it belongs. We pay for the air that heats our home. Why aren’t we concerned about where the air goes and how much of it is making it to your desired destination? A comfortable home starts with an airtight duct system.

Keeping your thermostat low and sealing ducts is just the beginning. I think the HVACR community can come up with hundreds of ideas that could help homeowners.

Here is a list to get the ball rolling:

• Inspect flexible duct for bends that may cut airflow. Straighten them if possible.

• Seal leaks and joints with sealant. Avoid duct tape; it loses its adhesiveness in a short period of time.

• Replace it. Use self-sealing sheet metal duct for long-lasting airtight solutions.”