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Winter tips: It just makes cents!

Winter is here and Minnesotans will soon be getting some of their highest energy bills of the season. The easy tips below will keep your home comfortable, while also keeping your electric and heating bills in check.

  1. Adjust your thermostat. The Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature at 68 degrees when you are awake and turning it down up to 10 degrees while you are away or asleep. Never lower the temperature below 55 degrees in the winter-keeping at 55 or above will prevent frozen pipes.
  2. Use the sun. Open window treatments to let sunlight in during the day to heat your home. At night, close your blinds and curtains to trap that heat inside.
  3. Cover up air leaks. Use plastic film on windows if they are leaky. Use door draft stoppers to keep cold air out.
  4. Cook comfort food efficiently this winter. Bake in batches and freeze extras. Cook your favorite soup and chili recipes in crockpots. Slow-cooked food tastes great and uses less energy.
  5. Celebrate the holidays with LED lights. If you decorate with lights, purchase LED holiday lights and keep them on timers.
  6. Service your furnace/boiler and change furnace filters regularly. This will help maximize airflow and efficiency. Check to see if your utility offers a rebate for getting your heating system serviced.
  7. If needed, use space heaters safely and efficiently. Only have space heaters on when you are in the room and keep items around them at a safe distance.
  8. Bundle up. Warm clothes, blankets, and socks are key in the winter. Rugs are another great way to help your home feel warmer.
  9. Inspect and clean your fireplace. Make sure your fireplace is safe. Close fireplace dampers when you are not using it to prevent heat from escaping.
  10. Redirect ceiling fans. Switch the rotation of your ceiling fans to clockwise, operate at a slow rate to push warm air down.

If you would like more customized suggestions to reduce energy use, please contact CUB for a free one-on-one bill consultation. We know many people struggle to keep up with energy bills, especially in the winter. If you are concerned about paying your bills, please read our previous blog about the Cold Weather Rule, income-based energy assistance and weatherization programs. Also, check with your utility about income-qualified assistance programs to help further reduce your winter energy bills.

Author: Carmen Carruthers

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