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Winter Energy Saving Tips Help Cut Costs And Keep You Warm (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 12/27/11 03:33 PM ET   Updated: 12/27/11 03:33 PM ET

With the warmth of spring months away and parts of the U.S. getting battered by winter weather, maintaining your home in the cold is crucial.

There are several easy, but important steps you can take to not only make sure your home stays warm, but also to help cut down on heating costs. As an added benefit, making your home heating more efficient will also help to save energy, which is better for everyone in the long run.

Be sure to also check out these tips on purchasing energy efficient light bulbs.

Don't forget to take care of yourself too, this winter. Check out these tips for curing dry winter skin naturally.

Tips and captions courtesy of the EPA and Edison Electric Institute as marked.

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  • Maintain Your Heating Equipment

    <em><a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.es_at_home" target="_hplink">From the EPA:</a></em> Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating system failure. If your heating equipment is more than 10 years old, now is a good time to schedule a season checkup with a licensed contractor to make sure your system is operating at peak performance. Check your system's air filter every month and when it is dirty, change it. At a minimum, change it every three months.

  • Use A Programmable Thermostat

    <em><a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.es_at_home" target="_hplink">From the EPA:</a></em> Control your home's temperature while you're away or asleep by using one of the pre-programmed settings. When used properly, programmable thermostats can save up to $180 every year in energy costs.

  • Seal Air Leaks In Your Home

    <em><a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.es_at_home" target="_hplink">From the EPA:</a></em> If rooms are too cold or you have noticed humidity or excessive dust problems you should consider taking action to seal air leaks. Sealing air leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a significant impact on improving your comfort and reducing energy bills. If you are adding insulation to your home, be sure to seal air leaks first, to ensure you get the best performance from your insulation.

  • Use Energy Star's Home Energy Advisor

    <em><a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.es_at_home" target="_hplink">From the EPA:</a></em> Energy Star's Home Energy Advisor can give recommendations for energy-saving home improvements for typical homes in your area. Utilize the Energy Star website. <a href="www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=home_energy_advisor.showGetInput" target="_hplink">Use Energy Star's Home Energy Yardstick</a> to compare your home's energy use to similar homes across the country and see how your home measures up.

  • Look For The Energy Star Label

    <em><a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.es_at_home" target="_hplink">From the EPA:</a></em> Whether you are replacing light bulbs or appliances in your home, Energy Star qualified products can help you save energy and reduce energy bills. The label can be found on more than 60 types of products ranging from heating and cooling equipment to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

  • Lower Your Thermostat

    <em><a href="http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/efficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf" target="_hplink">From the Edison Electric Institute:</a></em> Lower the thermostat setting a degree or two (save up to 3 percent per degree on heating costs)

  • Change The Filter

    <em><a href="http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/efficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf" target="_hplink">From the Edison Electric Institute:</a></em> Regularly clean or replace the filter in your heating system (save between 5 and 15 percent on annual energy costs)

  • Close The Door!

    <em><a href="http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/efficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf" target="_hplink">From the Edison Electric Institute:</a></em> Shut the door and vents in unused rooms (save up to 3 percent on heating costs).

  • Water Heater Temperature

    <em><a href="http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/efficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf" target="_hplink">From the Edison Electric Institute:</a></em> Lower the water heater's temperature to 120 degrees (save up to 10 percent on water heating costs; check the temperature with a thermometer under a hot tap).

  • Keep The Curtains Open

    <em><a href="http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/efficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf" target="_hplink">From the Edison Electric Institute:</a></em> On windows facing south and west, keep the curtains open on sunny days and close them at night (save 2 - 12 percent on heating costs).

  • Fill The Washer And Dryer

    <em><a href="http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/efficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf" target="_hplink">From the Edison Electric Institute:</a></em> Wash and dry full loads of clothes (save 2 - 4 percent on energy costs).

  • Use The Microwave

    <em><a href="http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/efficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf" target="_hplink">From the Edison Electric Institute:</a></em> Use a microwave oven instead of a regular oven (saves up to 50 percent on cooking costs).

  • Change Your Lightbulbs

    <em><a href="http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/efficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf" target="_hplink">From the Edison Electric Institute:</a></em> Install compact fluorescent lights in high-use fixtures (save about 75 percent on lighting costs per fixture).

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