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If you are looking for a way to reduce your heating and electric bills this winter season, there are a few simple adjustments you can make to your home and to your daily routine. Some of these adjustments will require a financial investment, others will require a change in your daily habits. The more of these little changes you make, the greater your savings.
Unplug Vampire Electric Sources
The EPA estimates that over 10 billion dollars is spent each year on wasted energy in the United States. This wasted energy comes from electronics, appliances, and electrical devices that are plugged in but not in use. Even if a device is turned off, it continues to pull a significant amount of energy. This could be anything from your coffee pot or microwave to your electronic charger, entertainment system, or computer. For outlets that are hard to reach and devices that are inconvenient to unplug frequently, you can invest in smart energy strips that do not draw electricity when your items are not in use.
There are multiple areas in your home that can create drafts and allow the cold air in. These drafts will not only lower the temperature in your home, they require your heat to turn on with greater frequency. Your windows and doors are the areas of your home most susceptible to drafts. To eliminate drafts you can add weather stripping, apply a window insulation kit, and add curtains. For extremely drafty doors and windows, the most cost-effective fix may be to replace them altogether. Also get into the habit of walking around the interior and exterior of your home each fall to check for any new cracks that may need to be sealed.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Decorative and Holiday Lights
If you like to add strings of lights to the interior or exterior of your home for year-round or holiday decoration, the additional cost can add up. To reduce the amount of energy your decorative lights draw, switch to energy-efficient LED versions. Energy-efficient LED decorative lights draw 75 percent less energy and last 25 percent longer than standard string lights.
Maintain Your Heat Sources
It is important to perform annual maintenance and general repairs on your hot water heater, furnace, and fireplace. This will keep your heat sources operating properly, extend their life cycles, and increase their efficiency. Something as minimal as changing the air filter in your furnace will reduce your energy consumption.
Even if your home is properly insulated, it is good to get in to the habit of re-evaluating your insulation to see if any of it needs to be repaired or replaced. The areas that you will benefit most from adding, repairing, or replacing insulation are your attic, basement, hot water pipes, furnace, outdoor faucets, and water lines that run directly under your home.
Also consider lowering your thermostat a few degrees this winter and dressing in layers while at home. Even a couple degrees difference can save you a bundle on your monthly utility bills. Whether your motivation is saving money or reducing your carbon footprint, the ideas above will get you started in the right direction.
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