Pinch your pennies: fall & winter energy saving tips

(KFVS) - The fluctuating temperatures in the Heartland may be sucking money right out of your wallet.

The U.S. Energy Department offers some easy tips to help save energy, save money, and keep you and your family comfortable during these cool months.

  • Take advantage of the heat from the sun: Open the curtains on the windows on the south-facing side of your home during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your sun. Close them at night to keep the cold air out.
  • Cover drafty windows: Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly. You can also install insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty even after weatherizing.
  • Adjust the temperature: When you're home, set the thermostat as low as is comfortable for you and your family. When you're asleep or not home, set the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees cooler for eight hours. That could save around 10% on your heating bill. A smart or programmable thermostat may make it a little easier to make that change.
  • Find and seal leaks: Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. You should also consider adding caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks around doors and windows.
  • Maintain your heating systems: Schedule service for your unit to make sure it's in good working order. Remember to replace your filter once a month or as needed on furnaces and heat pumps. If you use a wood or pellet-burning heater, clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside with a wire brush periodically.
  • Reduce heat loss from the fireplace: Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open the nearest window by about an inch and close doors leading into the room. You should also lower the thermostat to between 50 and 55 degrees. If you don't use the fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • Lower your water heating costs: Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting. You'll save energy and avoid scalding your hands.

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