Save money on high heating bills

Winter is coming and so are higher heating bills, according to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. 

Whether you heat with gas, electric or oil, Consumer Reports reveals some money-saving tips to help you reduce a high heating bill.

Your HVAC system uses the most energy in your house, and it’s important to make sure everything is running efficiently and not wasting fuel. 

That usually requires some professional maintenance at least once a year, but there are things you can do yourself.

Start by checking the filters. When they’re dirty, an appliance has to work harder, so clean and replace them regularly.

Next, check your doors and windows. Don’t let the warm air you’re paying for leak outside.

You can easily install weather stripping and draft blockers around your doors and windows to seal in warm air. 

For bigger gaps, use foam. 

Cold air can come in through outlets on external walls, so insert some foam outlet sealers.

And think about installing a smart thermostat. 

They save energy by lowering the temperature when you’re asleep or away. 

In fact, many of them use sensors and your phone’s location data to "learn" your routine and adjust your home’s temperature accordingly.

Adding an extra blanket to your bed and lowering the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees overnight can cut your heating costs up to 10 percent.

And for even more savings, check with your utility company. It might offer rebates and incentives to make some energy upgrades.

If you haven’t done this already, CR suggests reversing the direction of your ceiling fans so that the blades push warm air from the top of the room down.

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