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Feel The Burn: How To Avoid Feeling The “Heat” Of Your Heating Bills

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

With terms like chill out and chilax gaining in “vernacular” popularity, those of us seeking a little more warmth seem to be at a disadvantage, especially with heating costs on the rise.

Making our homes “winter-friendly” (from turning up the heat in the hearth to cooking heart warming meals in the kitchen) it’s all got us feeling the burn. But, according to energy conservation experts, there are some simple strategies to freeze our (monetary) assets without freezing…well, our personal assets.

Home Improvements:

· Let There Be Light: Get rid of old traditional (light) bulbs and replace them with newer compact fluorescent bulbs. These are know to use two-thirds less energy and last six to 10 times longer saving you about $60 annually.

· Bundles Of Joy: From fleece to flannel, bundle up in warm, winter materials that keep in the heat, and then lower your thermostat from 70-something degrees to between 65 to 68 degrees. Doing this while you are at work each day (provided you work eight hours a day) can cut your heating cost by up to 10 percent per year.

· Control Your Temperature: Get yourself a programmable thermostat (about $60). This programmable device allows you to control the temperature of your home when are away or at work.

· Get A Green Thumb: Investing and planting a few evergreens at the south and east of your home creates a windbreak and blocks wind from penetrating your windows. And, believe it or not, this scenic home improvement can cut heating costs by about $100 to $250 per year.

· Fill’ Er Up: The washing machine. Washing small loads is a waste of water and energy. Make sure you have a full load and (at least when it comes to colors or certain materials such as denim) consider washing (your clothes) in cold water.

· Don’t Forget Your Winter Wrap: No, not the kind you wear, but the kind you can put around doors and window. Seal off areas that give way to wind and cold with caulking or stripping. And, while you’re at it, why not put and insulation wrap over your water heater. Those who want to go the added expense but enjoy a big payoff later, install some storm windows and watch your heating bill drop by nearly 25 to 50 percent.

· Turn It Down: The stove that is. Consider using your stove sparingly. Perhaps make meals in one or two days and freeze them. Also cook foods and a medium to low heat and keep the lids on the pots. And, don’t forget to shut off ventilating fans 20 minutes after cooking.

· Indulge In Romantic Dinners: Keep lights down low or better yet, eat by the candlelight.

· Heat Things Up A Notch: If you have a fireplace, put it to good use. Eat dinner by the fire, or cuddle up with a blanket, movie and a bottle of wine. Just don’t forget to shut the flue when you are done. Keeping it open is like having a hole in your roof and results in a HUGE waste of energy.

Keep in mind that the best way to conserve energy with a fireplace is by installing a woodstove inside it, especially since none of the heat escapes by way of the chimney.

Curbing (energy) Costs In Your Car:

· Refrain From Going Full Speed Ahead: From out-and-out speeding to accelerating rapidly and riding your breaks, all these aggressive driving techniques can cost you your safety and from 11 to 73 cents per gallon.

· Hit The Open Road: Try to combine all your tasks into one trip. According to experts short trips waste double the gas that a single long trek.

· Stay Tuned (Up): From regular tune ups, oil and filter changes to inflating tires, etc., these simple practices can keep your vehicle fuel efficient and increase gas mileage by nearly 4 percent.

· Team Up: Whether you drive to work with your spouse or carpool with fellow employees, keeping one car on and one car off the road is the best way to ensure longevity (based on reduced wear and tear) and to keep gas costs down.

· Go hybrid: If you're in the market for a new car, you might really want to consider one with high gas mileage. A hybrid-electric car, for example, can get up to 50 miles to the gallon. Even better, the government is now giving $2,000 tax deductions to those who buy them.

Long Island Home & Lifestyle Articles > Feel The Burn: How To Avoid Feeling The “Heat” Of Your Heating Bills

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