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6 ways to cut winter energy costs

By Jeff Fruhwirth ·
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

The other day, we received the previous month's bill from the electric and gas utility. This is our first winter in our current house.

Our electric bill was about $175, which is the highest I've ever paid. I decided to do a little research to come up with some simple ways to lower our costs. Here are six steps I took.

  1. Applied foam insulation. The first thing I did was to use spray-in foam insulation in gaps. There were a few gaps where we had to replace the dryer vent, so I sprayed some foam in there and it expanded and took care of the leak. I also sealed a few other spots around the area where the cement foundation meets the wood.
  2. Applied silicone caulk. I added a bead of silicone caulk around all of the window frames. This is a small place for the air to get into the house, but the fix was simple.
  3. Turned down the water heater. Lowering the temperature of the warm water in the tank causes less energy to be used keeping the water at a higher temperature.
  4. Added insulation behind light switches. We also decided to put in some insulation behind our light switch plates. These are simple to install. You just pop the cover off the light switch, put the piece of foam in the switch box and screw the cover back on.
  5. Installed window coverings. This is nothing more than a piece of plastic and some sticky-sided tape that you put over the window on the inside of the house and seal with a hair dryer. The plastic acts as a second pane of glass, and the air pocket between the plastic and the glass keeps the area warm by regulating the temperature.
  6. Turned down the thermostat in the house. Wearing a sweater can keep me warm.

What have you done to your house to make it more energy efficient?

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Bill McPherson
January 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Don't burn trash in your fireplace. It can corrode stainless steel chimney liners, hot ashes and sparks from paper will rise immediately up the chimney and light either your roof, your neighbors roof, dry leaves in your gutters, or on the ground on fire. Don't burn dry leaves either, too hot too quick = chimney fire. Sheesh, where do people get these ideas??