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Tips to Make a Home Energy Efficient for the Winter

We know it is important to keep our home comfortable and still have a reasonable electric bill. What are some tips we can follow to make our home energy efficient for the winter.  
Insulate, seal, aerate and ventilate

Weather-strip doors to unheated areas of your home, such as the garage, crawl space and attic. Seal crack around electric switches and outlets located on outside walls. Tightly caulk around windows, doorframes, sill plates and wherever air might leak through exterior walls, floors and ceilings. If you have central AC, you can save several hundred dollars in annual energy costs by insulating and dealing duct leaks. There are rebates available for inspection and repair of duct leaks. Install low-flow showerheads and aerators on your faucets. These devices can reduce water use by 50 percent and save energy used for heating water. Keep windows and doors shut when the heat is on. Have your heating device serviced annually by a licensed contractor. Check the thermostat for accuracy and have it adjusted or replaced if necessary. Put your water heater under wraps with an insulation jacket. This can reduce your water heater’s energy use by 10 to 12 percent. Insulate hot water pipes. Some of these items are to-it-yourself; however it is important to always check with the manufacturer’s instructions before performing any work.

Staying warm and comfortable

Set the heating thermostat at 68 degrees or lower. For each degree you lower your thermostat, you can expect to save two percent on your heating costs. Replace older heat pumps with new, high-efficiency units. Open blinds and draperies in the daytime for free solar heat. Close them at night to help keep the cold out and keep the heat in. Keep the fireplace chimney clean. Never use a portable electric heater to do full-time heating. If your home as a fireplace, keep the damper closed tightly when not in use. Install tempered glass fireplace doors to reduce heat loss. Provide a way for outside air to enter the fireplace to support combustion so it does not draw heated air from the home. Keep your furnace filter clean.

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