Rosemary Papp

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The weather might be frightful, but that doesn't mean your heating costs have to be. Here are some tips to stay warm this winter without breaking the bank. 

1. Turn down the heat. You can save five percent of your heating costs for every degree lower you set your thermostat in the 15 to 21 degrees Celsius range. If your health permits it, the Consumer Energy Center recommends turning your heat down to 20 degrees Celsius. This doesn't mean you have to freeze this winter. A great way to save money is to turn the heat down during the day or even while you sleep. By lowering the temperature in your home by 10-15 degrees for eight hours, you can save up to 10% on your heating costs. Research also shows that keeping the house cooler at night can actually help you sleep better. 

2. Replace/clean furnace filters regularly. By keeping your furnace filters clean, you help to increase the efficiency of your furnace.  

3. Maintain your furnace. Have someone come out and give your furnace a tune-up. Make sure everything is lubricated, clean, and properly adjusted. This can make a huge dent in your heating bill. 

4. Eliminate leaks. Caulk leaks around windows, doors, and vents that lead outside. This helps to prevent the heat from escaping and can make your home feel less drafty. Caulking will fill any small gaps you may find. If you have a larger leak, your local hardware store will have a product to help fill the gap. 

5. Cover drafty windows. When it comes to covering drafty windows, there are two options. You can either use heavy-duty plastic sheeting and create and air-tight seal over the window using tape, or you can use insulating drapes. This is a cheap way to help make your home feel warmer. 

6. Use the sun to heat your home. The sun offers free heat, and in the winter, it often isn't utilized. Open the curtains on your south-facing windows on sunny days, but be sure to close them up before it gets dark to help trap the heat inside. 

7. Use ceiling fans to your advantage. Better ventilation in a home leads to better energy efficiency. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to help push hot air back down into the room.  

8. Get a humidifier. Air in your home can become very dry. Adding moisture to the air can actually add heat. Moist air holds heat better and feels warmer. A humidifier can help keep you feeling warm even when the temperature in your home is set lower. 

9. Cover your floors. While your tile or hardwood floors may be beautiful, covering them with a rug may help with your heating costs. Carpet and rugs hold heat better than tile or hardwood floors. This helps to keep your feet warmer without having to adjust the thermostat. 

Following these tips can help you to save money this winter while still keeping you warm and toasty.

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