Monday, December 03, 2007

Cut Down on Winter Bills

If you're like most homeowners, you probably dread opening your energy bills during winter months. But there are ways to prevent energy loss and keep your home well-heated. Follow these tips and watch the cost of your energy bills drop this winter.
Set Your ThermostatIn the winter, your thermostat really only needs to be set at about 62°F. If you feel a little chilled, put on a cozy sweater or some fleece-lined pants. And nothing beats a warm cup of hot chocolate to keep you toasty.

Plug Up Leaks To find out if you're losing heat through windows and doors, conduct a candle test. Place a lit candle by the edges of your windows and doors and if the flame flickers — or even worse, goes out completely — you've got a heat-loss problem! To plug up these leaks, apply new caulking to windows or install storm doors to keep cold air out. Also, never heat your home through your fireplace. The flute of the fireplace is one of the biggest sources of heat loss in your home.

Remember Energy Efficiency Consider installing energy-efficient Energy Star® appliances as well as compact fluorescent light bulbs. Not only will these appliances last longer than regular models, but they also use far less energy, shaving valuable dollars off your energy bill each month.

Adjust Your Water Heater Many manufacturers set the thermostats at 140°F, but 120°F is usually hot enough for all your hot water needs. If your water gets so hot that you have to mix it with cold water to use it, you're wasting money.

Get Time-of-Use Meters If you don't already know about time-of-use meters, you might be interested in checking them out. It's kind of like calling during peak hours to save on your cell phone bill. Energy used during certain peak periods would cost more, while energy used outside of those periods would cost less. So if you wait until 9 p.m. to do laundry or run your dishwasher, you'll save money! Check with your electric provider to see if they offer time-of-use meters and what their set peak hours are.

Keep in mind these tips and those scary winter energy bills won't be so shocking this season.

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