Save energy when it’s cold outside

            It’s so hard to muster the courage to lower the indoor temperature when it’s freezing cold outside. Here are eight ways to keep your home so toasty that you’ll be happy to shave a few degrees off of the thermostat.

  1. Look for leaks. Cold air can sneak into your home through windows, doors, the attic and gaps in walls where cable lines come inside. Inspect your walls for holes and cracks, and patch them with caulk or weather-stripping.
  2. If your furnace is old, it’s probably inefficient. Newer models come with energy-saving features. Consider replacing yours.
  3. Switch to LED lights. They’re available as ceiling fixtures, lamp bulbs and even Christmas lights. They use less energy than fluorescent lights and last much longer.
  4. Program your thermostat so it automatically lowers the heat at bedtime and again when everybody leaves the house in the morning. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, isn’t it time you got one?
  5. Retire your fireplace. A wood fire is pretty, but it doesn’t make your home any warmer. Plus, it sucks the heated air from the room up; through the flue and out into the great outdoors. If you can’t live without a fireplace, consider adding glass doors on the front and closing the doors of the room where it’s located. And when it’s not in use, close the flue.
  6. Open the drapes. When the sun is shining during the day, invite its warm rays into your home. Then, cover the windows in the evening to keep the nighttime cold outside where it belongs.
  7. Older, single-pane windows are notoriously drafty. If you can’t afford to replace them with energy-efficient, double-pane versions, cover your windows and frames with plastic sheets.
  8. Replace air filters. They’re designed to stop dust, pet hair and other pollutants from getting into your ductwork. But once they’re clogged, your furnace has to work way too hard to heat your home.