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November 2006
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Up with the Heat, Down with the Cost
Get smart and save as the weather turns colder.

For many of us, the winter months come much too soon. That also means heating bills will begin to arrive in the mail. If you are worried that this winter could be worse than usual, take heart. The good news is that you can reduce your home energy bills while still staying comfortable.

First and foremost, set a programmable thermostat. The energy-saving potential is huge. Turn it back 10 to 15 percent for eight hours, while away during the day or while sleeping at night. Before you know it, youíll see significant savings.

Thereís so much more you can do without incurring great expense. Start now and be prepared for the frigid months to come.

Check all of your windows and doors. Any cracked glass panes need to be replaced. Caulking for older windows may have to be replaced or repaired. Make sure they all close properly, fitting firmly without leaving gaps. Apply weatherstripping or caulk where needed.

You may have other air leaks hidden around the house. Check your fireplace flue to make sure it closes tightly when not being used. Go around your foundation and caulk any cracks that led air seep through. Also inspect kitchen, bathroom and dryer vents to make sure they have dampers that close properly.

Shine a light on energy savings! Use energy efficient fluorescent bulbs to replace traditional incandescent types. Your utility company may even offer rebates for the bulbs.

Donít get into hot water with your energy bill this winter! Use low flow showerheads to cut hot water use. Check for faucet leaks. And lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees.

Kick up your savings even further and commit to making additional improvements around your home. Your utility company may offer rebates for some energy-saving improvements. Consider adding or upgrading insulation, adding or upgrading storm windows and doors, replacing older windows, and upgrading your present energy system.

Now more than ever, conserve your heating fuel while improving the health of your monthly budget with these basic, no-nonsense tips that do make a difference.


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