It’s Easy Being Green: Seven Ways to Winterize Your Home

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It’s getting cold outside and for many people that translates into high electric bills from turning up the heat. But it’s possible to be comfortable and economical at the same time.

Below are seven ways you can stay warm at home and still save money during the upcoming winter season.

1. Use a draft snake. A draft snake is a great way to cut down on your home energy use, and it’s easy to make. If you don’t want to buy a pre-made draft snake, a rolled-up bath towel will do the trick. Placing a draft snake or towel at the bottom of your doors and windows reduces drafts coming from these openings. The U.S. Department of Energy also says that reducing drafts at home can cut down on energy use by anywhere from 5 percent to 30 percent.

2. Reverse your ceiling fans. Many ceiling fans come with a switch that changes the blades’ direction. In a counterclockwise direction the blades will produce cool breezes. When going clockwise, however, they produce warm air.

3. Tune up your heating system. When’s the last time your heating system got a check-up? If it hasn’t been anytime recently you should think about requesting one soon. A clean, properly running furnace can save up to 5 percent in heating costs.

4. Cover your windows with plastic. Most hardware or discount stores sell window insulation kits, which place a layer of plastic over windows that helps to guard against drafts. Window insulation, when combined with draft snakes, can save a lot on home energy costs.

5. Turn down the heat. Many people forget to turn the heat down when leaving home. But it doesn’t make sense to pay for heat that’s not being used. Additionally, you can save 1 percent to 3 percent in heating costs from lowering your main thermostat setting by just 1 degree.

6. Monitor your energy. More gadgets that let people track home energy use are entering the market. Research suggests that “giving consumers digital tools to control and monitor their electricity use can add up to big savings.”

7. Dress warm. Yes, you can save money this winter by simply putting on more clothes. A light sweater will add about 2 degrees of warmth and a heavy sweater about 4 degrees. The warmer you are, the less heat you’ll have to use at home.

For more ways to winterize your home, please see: