Advice for Battling Home Energy Costs

February 2, 2009 06:00 PM

Sara Muri, AgWeb Business & Crops Online Editor
With the recent cold temperatures affecting much of the Midwest, you're probably dreading that next heating bill. Winter heating costs can really pack a punch to your wallet, especially in these economic times.
The University of Illinois Extension has been gathering information to help families keep their costs under control.
Debbie Bartman, University of Illinois Extension consumer and family economics educator, has ten tips for cutting energy costs. She says you'll be surprised how the savings add up.
Here are the tips:
  1. Turn the thermostat down at night or while no one is home. You can reduce your heating bill by as much as 5 percent!
  1. Even better, install an Energy Star-qualified programmable thermostat—set to lower the heat when you're gone and while sleeping.
  1. Turn off lights when no one is in the room.
  1. While you're at it, replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs wherever possible. By replacing just five, you can save about $60 per year.
  1. Unplug DVD players, battery chargers, TVs, and computers when they're not in use. They use energy constantly.
  1. Take shorter showers.
  1. Fix air leaks around windows, doors, and electrical outlets. Use foam inserts, weather stripping, and caulking.
  1. Install storm windows and doors or put up plastic sheeting to reduce heat loss.
  1. Insulate attics, exterior walls, under floors, heat ducts, and hot water pipes.
  1. Close your fireplace damper when it's not in use to prevent cold air from entering the house.
For More Information

You can e-mail Sara Muri at

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