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Try these ideas to help keep your home warm during colder months while saving energy and lowering your energy bill.

  1. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower to heat your home. Each degree that you lower the thermostat can reduce your heating costs by as much as three percent.

  2. Heat only when you're home and awake. If you have resistance heat such as ceiling heat, wall heaters or baseboards, turn down the thermostat before you go to bed at night and when you are away from home. You will significantly reduce your electric use by heating your home for only eight to 10 hours per day instead of 24.

  3. Clean furnace filters regularly during the heating season and follow manufacturers' recommendations for replacing filters. Forced-air furnace filters trap dirt and dust, providing cleaner air for you to breathe. Cleaner filters also help the furnace operate more safely and efficiently.

  4. Maximize warm air flow to improve comfort and efficiency. Make sure that furniture and window coverings don't block your heat flow.

  5. Properly insulate your attic, walls, floor and ducts. If your home was built before Jan. 1, 1992, email our energy experts to determine the right amount of insulation for your home.
  6.  Have forced-air ducts checked for leaks. Most heating and cooling equipment contractors can check, repair and seal ductwork.
  7. Seal drafts. Keep doors and windows closed and block all gaps, cracks and openings to the outdoors. Keep woodstove and fireplace dampers and fireplace doors closed when not in use.

  8. Use zonal heat efficiently. Only heat rooms in use if you have baseboard, ceiling or wall heat.

  9. Install a chimney pillow in the flue of unused or seldom used fireplaces. These plastic pillows are inflated to fill the chimney and block warm inside air from leaving. Remember to remove the pillow before starting a fire. You can buy chimney pillows from fireplace dealers and online.

  10. Learn how to read your electric meter so that you can troubleshoot before receiving an expensive bill.