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15 energy-saving tips for winter

“Saturday Night Live” used to have a recurring skit about a pretend local TV program called “Bronx Beat with Betty & Jodi.”

When it was cold outside, the heavy-accented co-hosts talked about it being “sweata weatha.”

With winter upon us in the Northeast, it’s most definitely sweater weather. It can get expensive trying to keep your home warm, but there are plenty of simple things you can do to save energy.

Here are 15 tips as we brace for winter:

1. Seal leaks in doors and windows by applying weather stripping and/or caulk. Locking windows ensures a tight fit and is an important safety step.

2. Give heating vents room to breathe by pushing aside furniture that may be obstructing them.

3. Let the sun help by opening shades and curtains during the day, particularly on the south side of the home.

4. Lower your thermostat: for each degree, you reduce your energy bill by 2 percent.

5. Close the fireplace damper when it’s not in use.

6. Cover bare floors with carpeting or rugs as they add comfort and help with heat retention.

7. Set your thermostat at 60 degrees if you go on vacation (but don’t turn it off as pipes could freeze).

8. Wash laundry with cold water to save 40 cents per load vs. hot water.

9. Shorten showers to cut hot water costs.

10. Limit the use of portable heaters: They are great for “spot” heating, but running a 1,500-watt unit 24/7 can get expensive.

From Popular Mechanics:
11. Use a “draft snake” – as simple as a rolled bath towel – as drafts can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use.

12. Change or clean furnace filters once per month as dirty filters reduce airflow and increase energy demand.

13. Run ceiling fans in reverse if possible: A clockwise direction pushes warm air that pools at the ceiling down into the living space.

14. Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees or fewer, which will reduce costs 6 to 10 percent.

15. If it’s sweater weather, then wear a sweater. A light one is worth approximately 2 degrees of added warmth, a heavy sweater adds 4 degrees.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, warm and energy-efficient new year!