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Energize Your Home This Winter
Weatherstripping. The fastest, easiest, cheapest solution to keeping the chill out of your home. Pick up a large roll from your local home improvement store and start checking the seals at the front door, working your way through the house to every outside door and window. Better yet, your local energy provider may have a free energy efficiency kit it hands out to customers that includes a roll of weatherstripping.
Programmable thermostats. If you can invest in one of these handy items, you can lower the temperature while you’re asleep or away from home. Experts recommend a setting of 68 degrees while you’re at home and 10 to 15 degrees cooler while you’re out or asleep. According to the website energy.gov, by turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill.
Foam insulation. You can buy premade insulation plates to place behind the covers of electric outlets and switch plates. These are surprising places where cold air can leak in.
Humidifiers. Moist air feels warmer than dry air. Your heater sucks the moisture out of the air, so replacing it will help you feel more comfortable at a lower temperature. Plus it’s helpful for dry skin.
Let in the light. Open the curtains and blinds on southern-facing windows when you leave in the morning to let in as much light as possible and help warm your home. But be sure to close them back up at night to help seal the heat in.
Water heater blanket. If you wrap a water heater blanket around an older model heater, it won't have to work quite so hard to keep water warm. Energy experts say your heater should be set no higher than 125 degrees.
Fireplace dampers. Check to see if they’ve gotten loose or damaged; chimneys can act as wind tunnel and suck cold air down into your home.
Lighting. Even holiday lights are LED these days, which is good news: these bulbs are up to 99% more efficient than the old incandescent bulbs we grew up with.
Saving money this winter doesn’t have to be hard, and you don’t need to lay out a lot of cash to get your home into shape. Just think of what you can do with the money you save!