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1) Bundle up your home - Hidden gaps and cracks in the home can add up to as much airflow as an open window. The more heat that escapes, the more cold air gets in, causing your heating system to work harder, use more energy, and costing you energy $$s. Start by sealing air leaks and pay special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. Weatherizing can be done done economically using materials such as caulking, weatherstripping, and insulation... where needed.

2) Put on a sweater and save a few dollars - For every notch you raise the thermostat, your bill goes up by 3%. Try reducing the temperature if possible. Turning down the thermostat by 10 degrees at night or when the house is unoccupied can save as much as 20% of heating costs. Remember, small children and the elderly in particular may be vulnerable to problems at lower temperatures. Reduce the temperature gradually to give your body time to adjust to the new temperature level.

3) Let the sunshine in - Be sure to open draperies and blinds on sunny days to let the sunlight warm your home. But remember to close them at night and on overcast days.

4) Don't light up the whole room - Most of us know to turn off the lights when we leave
a room. However even while in a room, if a small reading lamp can be used, just light
up your area instead of the whole room. Of course also replacing incandescent light bulbs
with compact fluorescent (CFL's) can save $30. to $40. over the life of the bulb.

5) Get a heating system tuneup - A heating and cooling professional can perform an annual inspection and routine maintenance to make sure your furnace is operating at peak performance.

6) Keep the damper closed on your fireplace when not in use - If you keep the damper open, all the heat you are paying for is going right out the chimney. Remember if the damper is not closed; it's like having a window open in the middle of winter ... a waste of energy, money and ... brrrrrr.

7) Reduce hot water temperature - Set your water heater to the "normal" setting of 120 degrees, unless the owner's manual for your dishwasher requires a higher setting. Savings are 7-11 % of water heating costs.

8) Shorten showers - Simply reducing that lingering time by a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month for a family of four. Showers account for 2/3 of your water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half can reduce hot water costs by 33%.

9) Discontinue the use of that older second refrigerator - Got an old beer fridge in the basement? Unplug it and make the trek upstairs to your kitchen refrigerator. It will be good for your heart and your energy bill.

10) Make use of your oven's leftover heat - An oven will keep its heat for about 15 - 20 minutes after it is turned off. Use this heat to keep things such as second courses, desserts, or, anything else that may need to be kept warm.

Brought to you by Middleton Electric Department