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Fourteen Tips for Using Less Heat this Season

By Becky Striepe
12/16/2012 11:02:38 AM

It feels like it got chilly overnight! The temperature's dropping here in the Northern Hemisphere, and for a lot of us that means we dial up the thermostat to take that chill out of the air.

Whether you have electric or gas heat, warming your home isn't so hot for the environment. The majority of our electricity here in the United States comes from dirty coal. Natural-gas drilling often uses a dangerous method called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," which contaminates water in the areas around drilling sites. But never fear! There are lots of ways that you can reduce your heating bill without setting a hand on the thermostat.

1. Get a Draft Dodger

Nope, I'm not talking about avoiding military service. Draft dodgers are filled fabric tubes that you wedge under the door to keep out cold air. Normally filled with sand or small beans, they do a great job of adding a little extra insulation around doors or windows. You can purchase draft dodgers online, and if you're feeling crafty, it's quite easy to whip up your own!

2. Make the Most of the Sunlight

If possible, keep your blinds open during the day and close them at night. This does double duty. In the daytime, sunlight will warm your home naturally, and at night your blinds will help keep heat from escaping through your windows.

3. Trim the Tree

Not the Christmas tree! If you have plants blocking the windows on the side of your house that gets the most sun, prune them back. This will help you take advantage of sunlight during the day (see second item, above).

4. Cover the Floor

You know how unpleasant it is to step out of bed onto a cold floor. That chilly tile is a sign that heat is escaping. Area rugs can go a long way toward keeping your house warm, especially if your basement or crawlspace isn't as insulated as you wish it were. When temperatures start warming up, you can just roll up unwanted rugs and stash them in the attic or under the bed until you need them again!

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