Celebrating the Seasons

Keep Winter Outside! How To Cut Your Home Fuel Bills this Season

  • Minimize the use of ventilation fans in the bathroom and kitchen.

  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use.

  • Once the weather turns trim trees and shrubs that rub the roof or sides of the house.

  • Insulate electrical outlets on exterior walls. (You can purchase kits at most hardware stores.)

  • Be sure your attic and exterior walls are adequately insulated.

  • Check for leaks around doors and windows by shining a flashlight around the frames. Have someone on the other side looking for light seeping through cracks and crevices.

  • Seal out drafts from windows with felt weather strips, caulk, or sheets of clear plastic. Re-caulk if necessary.

  • Turn down the temperature on your water heater to 120°F.

  • Wrap your water heater with an insulation blanket.

  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.

  • Cutting your shower time in half can trim your hot water heating cost by 33 percent.

  • Change your furnace filter every three months for maximum efficiency.

  • Turn down the thermostats or close heating vents, and close the doors, in areas of your home you don't use regularly, such as guest rooms. (Be careful not to let any water pipes in these areas freeze.)

  • Install a programmable thermostat that automatically turns down the heat while you are away or asleep. However don't get carried away. If you allow rooms and contents to get too cool, it takes that much more energy to warm it back up. Keep thermostats at 68° to 70°F when you're home and awake. Lower them to 60° to 65°F at night.

  • Make sure furniture and drapes aren't blocking floor registers.

  • Take advantage of the winter sun; keep curtains and blinds on south-facing windows open during the day and closed in the late afternoon and evening.

  • Keep north-facing windows covered to keep the heat in. The heavier the curtain the better. The more folds in the curtain, the more energy saved.

  • When replacing lighting or appliances look for energy-efficient models with "Energy Star" ratings.
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