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Energy Saving Tips for Cold Weather

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During the winter months we can consume energy pretty quickly and easily. We're trying to keep warm indoors and we're using all the appliances and electronics much more than we would when we're outside during the warmer months. Though I live in Southern California, our house has plaster walls and little insulation. We can feel a bitter chill from the ocean just a couple of miles down the road and sometimes winter days aren't so mild.

I've tried to implement some of these tips below to help warm us up in ways that are kinder to the earth -- and to our bank account. Go through the checklist and see what you can do, either to save energy now or to plan ahead for next winter.

1. Monitor your thermostat. If you turned down your thermostat just one degree, according to the Nature Conservancy you would reduce your heating costs by 4 percent. So just imagine the money you'd save if you turned it down five degrees. Think about investing in a programmable thermostat, which allows you to heat your home according to a schedule that you choose. You can set it to turn off the heat when you leave the house and restart before you return home. You can also program in a lower temperature at night and then a higher temperature in the morning, making it easier to get out of your warm, cozy bed. Another idea -- one that we follow in our house -- is to use space heaters. This way you're only heating the rooms that you're using instead of the entire house. Make sure you keep your children and pets away from these heaters at all times. If you prefer central heat, then just close off the ducts in the rooms you're not using. Magnetic covers, sold at hardware stores, do an even better job at sealing the vents.




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