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10 Ways to Save on Winter Utilities

  1. Check heating filters once a month . Although there will be a minimal cost up front, this can extend the life of your heater. A dirty filter will make the system work harder, using more energy (and costing you more) in the process.
  1. Fix air leaks in doors and windows. Weather stripping your doors and windows is fast and cheap way cut back and can shave up to 30% off your energy bill. You’d be surprised how the seals around your doors and windows can deteriorate over time. To detect leaks, shine a flashlight into the edges of doors and windows and have someone outside see where light is shining through.
  1. Install a programmable thermostat to save about 30% on your energy bill each year. With a programmable thermostat, you can set your AC or heater to turn off after you’ve left for work and to come on a few hours before you arrive home.
  1. Set your water heater to 125 degrees or less. While you’re at it, consider installing a water-saving showerhead. This can shave up to $100 per year off of your utility bill. if your hot water heater is located in a cold garage or closet, invest in a water heater insulating blanket. This keeps your unit from having to work so hard to heat the water.
  1. Buy energy-efficient appliances. Year-round, you can save up to $400 on utility bills by replacing old appliances with energy-efficient units . Just look for the Energy Star label or refer the Energy Guide label on the appliance for energy consumption details.
  1. Close the vents in unused rooms. If you have a spare bedroom or home office that doesn’t get regular use, make sure the door and vents are closed. This can cut 100-200 square feet off your energy footprint in the winter.
  1. Use LED Bulbs. Fact: the sun sets earlier in the winter and sometimes we don’t even get to see if before we make it home from work causing us to burn more electricity in the evenings. It takes about $9 a year to run one LED bulb through the night compared to $21 for a conventional bulb. That’s savings of more than 50%!
  1. Check your dog door for leaks or cracks. For those with pets with easy access to the outdoors, it might be easy to overlook during your winterizing efforts. Replace the caulking or weather sealant used around the exterior of the frame every so often because it will get weatherized over time and add weather stripping or weather insulation between the frame.
  1. Utilize your oven. This is the best excuse to try a new or favorite recipe, bake some cookies, or burn through Pinterest for ideas. Turn the thermostat down and put on your chef’s hat. The heat that escapes your oven gets put to good use by warming up the kitchen and surrounding rooms meaning the furnace runs a little less.
  1. Use an energy-efficient humidifier in the living room. In winter months, the air inside your home is pretty dry. To be comfortable in dry air, people require a higher temperature—but they wouldn’t if the air were more humid.

 

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