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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

EIght painless ways to cut your electric bill this winter

From a post on the Fixer-Upper Blog:

With the winter season upon us, the high heating expenses are not far behind. There was a time when the only to combat them was to stay away from the heater and suffer. However, in recent times there have been loads of advances in conservation, efficiency, and technology. Below are 8 painless ways to cut your electric bill that require a little time, less money, and can end up saving you hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of dollars across a short span of time.

1.Strip : According to the experts at Lowe’s, a 1/8″ space between a standard exterior door and its threshold is equivalent to a two square inch hole in the wall. Closing those gaps can save you up to 15% in heating costs and reduce the demand on your heating system. They also offer a guide on how to accomplish this at the beginner level. Only three tools, three materials, and a day is all it requires to weatherstrip your entire home.
2.Dodge The Draft : Cold air can seep in through your front, rear, or any entryway door. One of the best ways to deal with this is to install a draft dodger. As Seen On TV sells one for a considerable price. However, Green Upgrader shows you how to make one of your own at a fraction of the cost. All you need is some fabric and sewing supplies.
3.Find An Outlet : Another way drafts go in and out of the home is through the outlet and outlet covers, particularly the ones along exterior walls. Not to worry, there are special outlet and switch gaskets specially made to significantly reduce drafts. This store sells an entire kit for only $1.94.
4.Insulate : Water needs to be heated in the winter as well, so don’t throw money away by not insulating. If your water heater’s storage tank has a R-value of under R-24, adding insulation can reduce heat loss by 25-45%. The U.S. Department of Energy has tips on how to insulate both electric and gas heated water tanks. There are also other useful related guides.
5.Go Tankless : If you’re in the market for a new water heater, try a tankless one. They create hot water on demand so there’s no stored water needing to be continuously heated. They cost about $200 more than a standard water heater. However, the money you save by cutting your electric bills, especially in winter, can add up to that difference in just a few years. In addition, certain tankless heaters can qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit.
6.Reflect On It : Radiator reflectors are insulation boards with aluminum or material on one side. When placed on the wall behind the radiator unit, they reflect heat back into the room, instead of allowing the heat to escape. An easy install for anyone looking to cut bills. They are also an inexpensive purchase at a hardware store, or you can make your own.
7.Program the Problems Away : A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day, and even different times on different days. Cut your winter electric bills by setting it to automatically lower the temperature when you leave for work and raise it an hour before you return home. The DIY network shows you how to choose one and install it yourself, all in less than two hours.
8.Watch Out For Carbon Monoxide : The leading cause of poisoning accidents in the United States, a common cause of it is poorly maintained heating systems. Also, since the symptoms seem like the flu, it is not taken seriously. This video from WebMD show you how to prevent and detect it. Don’t waste the money you saved on winter electric bills with costly medical ones.

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