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Five Ways to Save Energy & Cash This Winter

Don't let falling temperatures drain your bank account. Try these energy-saving strategies.

Energy conservation is not just good for the planet. It can save you money this winter.

Although we're mostly blessed with mild winters absent of blizzards and freezing rain, people do turn up their thermostats as cold weather drifts in.

But there are a few ways to keep energy costs from getting you down.

1. Replace old single-pane windows with double-pane, weather-proof models. This can be pricey (more than $100 a window in some cases) but there is a low-cost do-it-yourself option. The White Plastic Interior Storm Window Kit is less than $7.

That's a pretty basic concept. Here are some more, including a couple from Patch readers on Facebook.

2. Patch reader Angela Aurelio suggested "At night a huge down alternative comforter and two cats work." Go for slippers and hoodie, not shorts and flip flops, when hanging out at home in the winter.

3. Check for leaks where the heat is slipping out of the house. Try the low-tech but time-tested method of finding leaks: simply hold a burning candle near openings and look for a flicker that reveals incoming air. This is especially a problem around doors, which may need a little weather stripping to stay draft-proof.

4. Patch reader Mark Peake reminded folks that alternative energy sources can be more efficient than traditional choices. "Ceramic heater runs on cents a day," he said.

5. Manage blinds and curtains for maximum heat efficiency. In the winter, this means closing them at night to keep heat in. During the day, open the blinds and curtains of south-facing windows to let the sunlight in.

Check out this Money Talks News column with some bigger-picture ideas for insulating your home, such as planting trees.

How do you shake off winter chills in your home without blowing the budget? Tell us in comments.

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Jerry January 27, 2013 at 08:06 PM
We've done many of the suggested energy-saver ideas listed here, but recently found one that really made a difference. In the process of replacing our 44 year-old furnace, our heating contractor suggested I paint all the heat duct openings with a duct sealant. It will stop a surprising number of leaks for you and you can save money by doing it yourself he said. As we had to have a heat duct pressure test anyway after the new furnace installation to get the rebate, I agreed to do it. I was worried about leaks in the ducting under the house, but the contractor said do the sealant first before the test then we'll see if those little leaks amount to much. So I got a gallon of DP 1010 water based duct sealant at a local store and paint brushed it on the inside of all the duct vents (after removing the register or grill of course). Didn't have to crawl under the house. Then we had the test. We got a rating within one point of a new duct system rate! And the house was really warm. Even the living room which had been colder than the rest of the house since we bought it 37 years ago was suddenly warm and toasty! The gallon cost about $20 and is LEED qualified. Try it. It was easy and cheap. (And no Freddy I don't sell the stuff)

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