Reining in your energy bill this winter: Part II

Old man winter does a number on your energy bill in addition to your fingers and toes.

Between sipping hot chocolate to stay warm and sloshing through snow, you'll see more money from your checking account going toward your electric and heating bills. If you want to devote more of your funds to holiday shopping and less to energy costs, we've got you covered with more tips.

Install a programmable thermostat
Although the weather outside is frightful, you may not be ready to crank up your thermostat in an effort to stay warm. Indeed, many homeowners try to see how long they can freeze before they finally cave and turn on the heat.

Rather than testing your will, install a programmable thermostat. These devices allow you to not only automatically operate the heat based on the ambient temperature, but you can also set specific times when you want your heat to turn on. If you're at work in the morning, for instance, you only need your house warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing. You can program one of these thermostats to maintain a lower temperature during the day and then heat up the house before you arrive in the evening.

You can also program it to turn the heat down in the evening. When you're bundled in a mountain of blankets, you may not need the additional heat.

Check your hot water heater
Given that your house is colder, it will take more time for the hot water heater to warm up for a hot shower, and your unit will have to work harder, thereby using more energy. Although anything less than a hot spring is not desirable in winter, lower your heater's temperature so it doesn't have to work to reach a higher setting.

If you have room in your budget, you can also consider upgrading to an energy-efficient model to save more money.

Take advantage of natural heat
The sun provides warmth for your home, but you have to open your house to its rays. If you want to get the full benefit of solar heat, open your curtains and blinds during the day. When the sun goes down, close them to trap heat. Not only does this solution allow you to save on your energy costs by reducing your reliance on your furnace, but it also helps you lower your electricity bill by decreasing the time you use your lighting.

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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