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This month, we’ve featured a few posts on the extremely timely issue of lowering your heating bill.  At a time of year when warmth and light should be treated as particularly  precious, you’ll notice that this post by home expert Jessica Ackerman has a decidedly green tinge to it.  Take a look …

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Once the temperatures start to drop, most families start thinking about ways that they can stay warm while still saving on their winter heating costs. In our household, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to live well while still saving money.

Since a green way of living is also an important priority for us, we are also always looking for environmentally friendly ways to save energy and conserve resources. If you’ve been looking for ways to cut your winter heating costs, here are a few tips that can definitely help.

Adjust Your Thermostat Properly
Although it might be tempting to turn up the thermostat on chilly days, doing so is not an efficient way to save energy. Instead of turning it up, try turning it down a couple of degrees instead. Keeping your house just a couple of degrees cooler can really save money. Simply put on a sweater, and you probably won’t even notice the difference in temperature.

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You can save more money and energy by turning the thermostat down even lower when you aren’t at home, or when you go to bed at night. If this is inconvenient, invest in a programmable thermostat to make things easy. Set it to turn the temperature back up before you get home from work and before you get up in the morning, and you’ll never notice the difference – except when you get your heating bill.

Utilize “Free” Solar Heat
Even in the winter, there are days when the sun shines brightly. On these sunny days, utilize the free solar heat by opening the curtains and blinds. You might be amazed at how much warmer a room can get, using only the power of sunshine. But, when the sun goes down, don’t forget to close the curtains and blinds again. In fact, by using insulated draperies and curtains, you can prevent even more heat loss through your windows.

Plug Those Cracks and Crevices
It doesn’t do much good to heat your home if you let it sneak out of the house. At our house, we do a home inspection twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall. During the fall inspection, we focus on looking for cracks and crevices that could allow heat to escape and cold air to get in. If we find any of these problem areas, we use weather stripping and caulk to remedy the situation. Areas around windows and doors can be prime suspects for heat leaks.

It’s also important to check any areas where wires or pipes enter your home, as there are often small openings that can let heat leak out. By fixing these areas, you’ll be saving energy and making your home more comfortable at the same time. To help find these problematic areas, hold a lit candle or a piece of lightweight paper up close to where you think heat might be escaping. If the candle flickers or the paper flutters, you’ve found a spot that should be plugged. Weather stripping and caulk are quite inexpensive, especially when you consider how much you’ll save on your heating bill.

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Jessica Ackerman, writes for WallDecorandHomeAccents.com and offers aspiring home designers the opportunity to decorate with home wall art and decorative door toppers.

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Jessica Ackerman

Jessica Ackerman grew up working in her family’s construction business beginning in the back office and migrating to the actual, hands on construction side of the enterprise. In addition to writing posts on the BuildDirect blog, Jessica is currently a senior staff writer for an online home decor store called Wall Decor and Home Accents.