Winter Energy Saving Tips

Insulate doors and windows with plastic, caulk and weather stripping. A poorly insulated window or door can lose 10 to 20 times as much heat or air conditioning as the same area of a well-insulated wall.

Invest in double-paned windows. Single-paned windows lose a tremendous amount of heat in the winter.

Install thin foam insulating sheets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls. Also, don't forget to close the fireplace damper when it is not in use. More padding between the outside of your home and you will save on heat bills.

Install plastic outlet protectors in your electrical outlets. These childproofing instruments actually reduce airflow from the outside of the home and save on electric bills.

Close off rooms that don't need to be heated or cooled. Simply shutting the door to rooms you rarely use can help keep both your thermostat and bills down.

Make sure your heating and cooling vents are clean. Dust and other objects will cause your heater to work harder.

Replace the filter in your furnace regularly. The cleaner the furnace, the better it will run.

Install a programmable thermostat or set your thermostat back at night. While you sleep you can keep the temperature around five to 10 degrees lower than you could if you were awake and walking around your home.

Reduce your utility bill by up to 21 percent by turning down the thermostat from 70 degrees to 65 degrees. Lowering it even further, to 60 degrees, can save another 18 percent.

Pipes and Electric

Repair leaky faucets promptly. A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period.

Homeowners with gas or oil hot-water storage tanks and pipes should insulate them, being careful not to cover the water heater's top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment. When in doubt, get professional help.

Remember to turn off lights when not needed. Lighting can account for up to 10 percent of the electrical consumption in a household.

Change light switches to dimmer switches and use lower-wattage bulbs when possible

House Doctors
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