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5 No-Cost Ways to Save Energy in Your Home

 

Photo courtesy of ShutterstoHeating costs this winter will be higher than last year for more than 90 percent of the 116 million U.S. homes, mainly because of higher projected prices for residential natural gas, propane and electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook

Heating a home also increases its carbon footprint exponentially. The average home emits twice the amount of carbon dioxide as a vehicle.

So save some bucks—and reduce your carbon footprint—by making your house more energy efficient. Here are five no-cost ways: 

1. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs, says the Consumer Energy Center. Use your programmable thermostat to lower the temperature at night or when leaving home for an extended time. Programming the thermostat to turn the temperature down 8 degrees for seven hours each night and an additional seven hours each weekday could result in a seasonal heating savings of about 12 percent.

2. Inspect the filters of your forced-air furnace. This should be done at the beginning of the heating season and monthly during the season. Clean or replace the filter if significant dust has built up, says the U.S. Department of Energy.

 3. Hang blankets over your windows. Heavy coverings will eliminate drafts and are easy to install, says the Family Handyman. One woman claims to have cut her electric bill by 10 percent one winter.

4. Place rolled blankets or towels against drafty doors or windows. This will slow or nearly halt the draft until you can install a more permanent solution such as weather-stripping, says SFGate

5. Close your fireplace damper. All the energy-saving efforts in the world are for naught if you're sending heat up your chimney when you're not using your fireplace, notes Greening Neighborhoods.

 

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