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Keep Warm and Save Cash
For many people, the cold winter months create a huge energy drain within the home. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to save energy and go green while still staying warm. Many of these energy-saving methods are cheap, and some are even free. All of them will save you money and help you to reduce your carbon footprint. You'll be toasty warm all winter, and you'll have a good feeling inside because you helped to protect Mother Earth. Here are a few quick and easy green winter ideas that will give you the most bang for your buck.
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Heating Your Home
One of the easiest ways to go green and save energy on heating your home is install digital programmable thermostat. Program the thermostat for about 65 degrees during the day. Lower the temperature to about 60 degrees if you plan to be away from home for a while. If you feel cold, wear layered clothing such as a t-shirt and sweater. Low on warm clothing? Shop for eco-friendly winter fashions online or in stores. Buy organic and recycled winter wear, or check out some vintage winter clothing at a thrift shop.
You can also save a lot of energy by switching your ceiling fans so that the blades run clockwise. This helps the warm air to circulate more efficiently around your home. Also, be sure to clean or replace your furnace filter according to the manufacturer's recommendations. You can also install clear plastic clear plastic window insulation on the insides of your windows to reduce drafts. Don't forget to caulk cracks around your home, as well.
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Lighting Your Home
The best way to save energy on lighting is to replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use about 75% less energy and last about six times longer than incandescent. Instead of leaving lights on when you're away from home, put a timer or a motion sensor on your indoor and outdoor lights so they'll come on when you arrive. You can also install solar LED lights with a timer; these will come on automatically when the sun goes down in the evening.
The easiest, greenest way to light your home is to open the blinds or curtains on the west and south sides of your home. This technique will also help to warm your house naturally by letting in the winter sunshine. Also, be sure to turn off lights when they're not being used.
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Laundry and Dishes
You can save a lot of energy by lowering your water heater's temperature to 120 degrees. You can also save energy by installing a jacket or blanket on your water heater. Water heater insulation products are available for both gas and electric water heaters. You can also insulate your pipes to save energy on heating water. Wash laundry in warm or cold water. Whenever possible, dry clothing on a rack inside the house or dry them on a clothesline outside, if it's sunny and dry. Turn off the heated dry setting on your dishwasher; the ambient heat from the washing cycle will dry them sufficiently. Also, only run the clothes washer and dishwasher when full.
- Energy Star: "Light Bulbs: Energy Star," http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls