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Cold Weather Energy Saving Tips

As temperatures drop, energy bills can climb higher, if consumers aren't careful. Tips to trim energy bills during the colder months.
As temperatures drop, energy bills can climb higher, if consumers aren't careful.  Tips to trim energy bills during the colder months.

For consumers looking to save energy and money this winter, Meg Matt of the Association of Energy Services Professionals recommends starting with a call to the utility company to ask about special seasonal programs.

Then, take a walk around your home.

"Always you want to do an annual check around your windows and your doorways to make sure your weatherstripping is sitting nice and tight. Your windows are caulked nice and tight," Matt urges. "That's so cheap and easy, and it's a real great do-it-yourself project.

Consider a wrap for your hot water heater. It'll keep it warmer, taking less time to heat that water.

And ask yourself, does the water need to be that hot? An inexpensive hot water gauge can test your tap water.

For most, water in the 120 to 130 degree range should be adequate, not just to avoid the extra energy spent, but also for safety.

And beware of that sneaky culprit -- "vampire energy" -- energy consumed by all of those devices left plugged into the wall.

"When we don't unplug them when we're not using them, they're sitting in a standby mode and ready to go. This is costing our country and all of our consumers $10 billion dollars a year in wasted energy," Matt says.

Finally, consider smarter appliances that allow you to control thermostats and lights from a smartphone, when you're away from home, especially those long holiday vacations.


(Karin Caifa for CNN's Consumer Watch)


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