How to Save on Energy Costs This Winter

How to Save on Energy Costs This Winter

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For many Americans that means they will see record heating bills and may have to cut back elsewhere to balance their budgets. There are a number of ways you can save on your energy costs this winter including the following:

1. Open your curtains wide. For south-facing windows, you will want to encourage maximum sun penetration during daylight hours. One way to accomplish this is to open wide your curtains to let the sun shine in. Allow the sun’s warmth to contribute to your home’s heat.

2. Manage old windows. If you have old windows, you can reduce drafts by making sure that every window is shut, locked and properly sealed. Install heavy-duty clear plastic across window surfaces and make sure that the plastic is securely in place to thwart cold air penetration.

3. Install a programmable thermostat. Hand-dialed thermostats are from a bygone era and should be replaced. Instead, install a programmable electronic thermostat to take advantage of easy adjusting. Set your thermostat to a lower temperature when you are away from home or asleep and have it automatically adjust to a more comfortable setting before you arrive home or wake up.

4. Caulk and weather strip. Besides your windows, cold air can seep into your home through doorways, in vents and around pipes. Locate the various gaps in your home and seal them. Closets, cupboards and pantries will oftentimes feature unfinished spaces where cold air can get in.

5. Tune up your heating system. Make sure that your furnace is ready for the winter months by scheduling a service call. During the winter, plan on replacing the filter monthly to ensure that it runs optimally throughout the cold weather months.

6. Turn down your water heater. Chances are your hot water heater is producing near scalding water. Drop its temperature to 125 degrees Fahrenheit and you will still be able to enjoy comfortable showers.

7. Replace your lighting. Old incandescent bulbs can be replaced with Energy Star light bulbs. Moreover, you can put your lights on timers to take advantage of lights that automatically switch on and off as needed, saving you money.

Money Tips

If your winter fuel costs are too high, you can ask your utility company to provide a budget plan where your costs remain constant throughout the year. You may find this advantageous if you have trouble paying larger bills during the winter.

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Categories: Home Utility

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".