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Get Through The Winter With Lower Energy Bills
The days will start getting longer again and the temperatures will probably continue to drop. January and February will likely bring frigid days that make you want to turn up the heat, and that could mean a spike in your energy bills. Get ready for the official winter months by using these four tips to cut back on energy.

1. Relish sunny days
The sun is a natural source of heat, so take advantage of its warmth. Open your curtains or blinds on windows that get direct sunlight to help heat your home. You'll notice that your heating systems won't kick on as often when you use this strategy. It's a small task that can make a big difference.

2. Choke the chimney
If your chimney isn't closed properly, it could be letting a serious amount of heat escape. You can save up to 8 percent on heating expenses when you choke your chimney. Close the damper tightly to ensure that no air is escaping. This money-saving strategy will cost you nothing to complete and you should be able to see the rewards on your monthly heating bills.

3. Add some insulation
A little bit of padding can go a long way in reducing energy costs, especially in older homes. One area that can often use more insulation is your attic. You can save up to 30 percent on energy bills by investing a few hundred dollars in new insulation. You should also examine areas like crawl spaces, ceilings and basement walls to see if they could be better insulated. Once your home is optimized for heat retention, you'll start to see your monthly bills shrink.

4. Invest in energy-saving appliances
It might not be feasible right away, but you should consider purchasing energy-saving appliances the next time you're in the market. When you upgrade your clothes washer and dryer, dishwasher or refrigerator to a newer model, you can experience dramatic savings for years to come.

If you take even one of these four steps, you could see a significant reduction in your energy bills over the course of the winter.
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