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You’ve budgeted for holiday gifts, meals, maybe a vacation—but with money tight, that doesn’t leave much room for energy efficiency upgrades at home. Does that mean you’re powerless to lower your electric bill? Not at all. Keep your energy bill cool this winter with these tips and tricks.
Drape delivery. Are you using your curtains to retain heat? Open drapes and shades to catch free solar heat during the day. Close them at night to keep the heat inside.
Got tape? Though not as durable as foam or vinyl, you can use nonporous tape (first-aid cloth tape, for example) to keep cold air from infiltrating your home. Tape is good for blocking corners and irregular cracks, and can be used at the top and bottom of a window sash, door frames, attic hatches and inoperable windows.
Pull the plug. Unplug any appliance or electronic device that you don’t regularly use. Most devices use electricity anytime they are plugged in even if they are off.
Be a fan of fans. Run ceiling fans on low and reverse the rotation to blow air up in winter. This keeps warm air circulating without cooling you.
Flue flux. Be sure your fireplace damper is tightly closed anytime the fireplace is not being used.
Free your vents. Your heating, ventilating and air conditioning system will have to work twice as hard if your air vents are blocked by rugs, furniture or drapes. Keep them clear to allow air to flow freely.
Get caulking. Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal gaps around leaky doors and windows.
Garage drain. Leave your garage door down. A warmer garage in winter will save energy.
Rug relief. Have a spare rug? Use it to cover bare floors for added insulation.
Bundle up. Slip on some fuzzy socks and a sweater and lower the thermostat. You can save 5% for every degree you drop your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees.
Smart food. When cooking, keep lids on pots and let hot food cool off before placing it in the refrigerator.
There are other ways to conserve energy, too. Remember, you don’t pay for what you don’t use. When you’re not watching TV or using lights, computers or other electronics, turn them off.