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How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient This Winter

This season is a great time to make changes to save energy for the coming year.

As a smart neighbor, you know that incorporating smart home technology into your homes is a no-brainer. But what you might not know is there are several affordable smart products you can incorporate into your home to quickly and easily enjoy energy savings. And the best part is these smart products can start saving you money as soon as they are installed!

Make Home More Energy Efficient “There are several affordable smart products you can incorporate into your home to quickly and easily enjoy energy savings.”

Here are some smart products you may want to consider adding to your home today:

LED Light Bulbs (starting at $6.99) – You can save a lot of energy by using LED bulbs in your lamps, chandeliers and light fixtures, but you may not realize just how much money they can save you over the life of the bulb. Most LED lights will last at least 50,000 hours, which is approximately 50 times longer than traditional incandescents, 20-25 times longer than halogens and 8-10 times longer than CFL bulbs. If you use your LED bulbs 8 hours per day, they should last approximately 17 years. And since they use less electricity, your LED bulbs may reduce your energy bills by as much as $300 over those 50,000 hours. If each LED bulb you use in your home costs $10, then it could net a savings of $290. And if you place 10 LEDs in your home, that could be a whopping $2,900. Not too shabby!

Belkin Conserve Socket ($12.99) – Even after turning them off, many appliances and electronics still pull power while not in use. No one has time to go around the house unplugging everything that is not currently being used, so Belkin developed a product to make energy saving a bit easier. The Belkin Conserve Socket has a timer that automatically shuts off power, including the standby power from products plugged in but not in use. Choose between 30 minutes, 3 hours or 6 hours after use for your Conserve Socket to power everything down to save energy. The switch does not use any power after the timer turns off all electricity, so these are great for outlets that have multiple appliances and electronics plugged in.

Honeywell Wi-Fi 7 Day Programmable Thermostat ($89.00) – For a minimal investment, you can have your HVAC system running smoothly while saving energy. And the best part is you can set it and forget it as it automatically switches between heating and cooling as needed. You can make changes to your programmed schedule remotely from your smartphone or any other Wi-Fi enabled device. It features an easy-to-read touchscreen display to make setting your preferences a breeze.

Ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor, 2nd Generation ($249.00) – If you’re looking for a programmable thermostat that does more, consider the Ecobee3. It monitors temperatures in multiple locations in the rooms that matter most. It knows when to turn on and off the heat and air conditioning based on your individual energy profile, schedule and current weather conditions. It also knows when you are home and when you’re away and adjusts accordingly to save you money and make your home comfortable. The Wi-Fi compatibility enables real-time adjustments via your smartphone or computer. The best part is the potential average savings of 23% per year on energy costs.

Nest Learning 3rd Generation Thermostat ($249.00) – For a programmable thermostat that programs itself, look to the Nest. The auto-schedule feature learns the temperatures you like and programs itself in about one week. The auto-away feature automatically adjusts the temperature up or down when nobody is home to help save energy. It also guides you in the right direction by displaying the Nest Leaf when you choose a temperature setting that saves energy. You can check your energy history from the Nest app to see how much energy you use and when. When the Fairsight feature spots you from across the room, it lights up to show you the time, temperature or weather. How nice is that?

Tips to Help You Save Even More Energy and Money

Here are some easy DIY projects you can complete around your home to help save even more energy this winter:

  • Stop drafts and air leaks by checking the weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors. If you find a gap or feel a draft, fill it by cutting a new piece of weather stripping, or caulk where needed to stop the inflow of cold air
  • Upgrade your appliances, electronics and water heater to modern energy-efficient models
  • Program your thermostat to a temperature setting of 68 degrees or lower during the day and even cooler at night while you’re sleeping and snuggled under the covers. If you’ve got a programmable thermostat, set it to automatically increase about 10 or 15 minutes before your alarm goes off so you can start your day without shivering
  • Clean or change your HVAC filters regularly for proper performance. Doing this can save you 5-15 percent in energy costs
  • Make sure your heating outlets and return air registers are free from obstructions like furniture or draperies. Vents should be cleaned regularly with a vacuum cleaner or broom
  • Set your ceiling fans to the clockwise direction to help pull the heated air down to the living areas of your home in the winter
  • Wrap your electric water heater in an insulation blanket so it doesn’t have to work as hard to heat the water as the temperatures outside fall. They are super easy to install and available at most home improvement or building supply stores
  • Open your blinds to take advantage of the sun’s rays during the day to help heat your home
  • Make sure the insulation in your attic is 10-12 inches deep to help keep your home comfortable, and if you have a crawl space or basement, use insulation wrap to help blanket your living areas
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when the fireplace is not in use.

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