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  4. 9 Ways to Keep Winter Energy Costs In-Check
  • 9 Ways to Keep Winter Energy Costs In-Check

    These small changes can add up to big energy savings this winter.

    • Winter puts hard-working heating systems to the ultimate test. These energy-friendly home habits offer ways to get more out of your appliances and spend less on utility bills.

    • Borrow some solar power.

      During the day, open curtains on the south side of your home to let the sun’s rays give your furnace a helping hand. Ideally, you’ll be able to lower your thermostat a few degrees without sacrificing ambient temperature. When the sun isn’t shining, draw drapes and shades to lock in the added warmth.

    • Dodge wintry drafts with window coverings.

      Whether you use heavy-duty plastic sheets, tight-fitting shades or heavy fabric curtains, this type of physical barrier can minimize cold air leaks that make your heating system work overtime. Even standard drapes can reduce heat loss up to 10 percent*.

    • Seal cracks, crevices and leaks.

      Windows aren’t the only spots that let cold air in and warm air out. Inspect and reinforce spaces around pipes, gaps around chimneys, unfinished areas behind cupboards and closets, and recessed lighting. A professional can help with these efforts. Typical fixes include weather-stripping, caulking and insulating.

    • Find other ways to get cozy.

      Extra blankets, fluffy slippers and wooly socks cost much less than hefty heating bills. Try setting your thermostat five to 10 degrees lower than normal. Then throw on your favorite ugly sweater. Too chilly? Raise the temp one degree at a time every few hours until you find a happy medium.

    • Turn down your water heater temperature and install low-flow fixtures.

      Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy you consume at home**. Lowering the temp to 120 degrees Fahrenheit can help save on heating energy. You can also increase water savings by 25 to 60 percent with a low-flow faucet or showerhead***.

    • Practice selective heating.

      You can save roughly 10 percent each year on heating costs if you lower the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours**. Try it while you’re sleeping or any time you’re not at home.

    • Use your fireplace wisely.

      Fireplaces create drafts that can suck toasty air right up the chimney. While the fire blazes, significantly lower your thermostat or turn it off completely. Make sure to close the damper unless a fire is burning to help prevent further warm-air loss**.

    • Keep your heating system in top shape.

      Schedule heater maintenance appointments and stay on top of regular filter changes. We recommend replacing Filtrete™ Air Filters in your heating and cooling system at least every three months. And if you have a wood- or pellet-burning appliance, clean its flue vent regularly to improve efficiency.