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Save Energy with a Smarter Home

By Jean Parks

Winter is here and, like me, you are probably worried about controlling your heating costs. Here are  seven tips to help you conserve energy, save money and stay comfortable. No more worrying about those monthly power bills – even renters can save cash and increase home comfort!

Energy Audit
Begin by figuring out where the energy leaks are. Consider arranging for a professional Home Energy Audit. Alternatively, a Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit can help you find energy leaks by checking your insulation, home ventilation system, and more.

Check Your Heating System
Furnaces should be looked at every year by a professional. Depending on the type of furnace you have, filters will need to be inspected and changed on a regular basis. If your system is more than 15 years old, it might be time for a new, more energy efficient solution. Here's a guide to the different types of heating systems.

Watch the Water
Consider putting in low-flow shower heads and faucets or replacing an old hot water heater. Turn the tank down to 120 degrees. If your family is going away for longer than 3 days, turn the tank off or dial it to vacation mode. Take showers rather than tub baths; do laundry in cold water; and don't run the dishwasher until it's full.

Find The Power Vampires
I was SHOCKED at how much electricity my old fridge was using! A Kill A Watt or Power Monitoring for Dummies device can save big money by letting you know how much power your appliances are using. I was pleasantly surprised to find that our power company offered rebates for purchasing Energy Star compliant appliances. Calculate how much you can save by switching to energy efficient light bulbs.

Caulking and Weather Stripping
Prevent drafts and keep the heat inside your house! Don't be intimidated – finding and sealing leaks with weather stripping or caulking is easy to do.

Window Treatments
For our house, we chose to invest in thermal drapes. In addition to being attractive, thermal drapes will keep the house warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and will travel with us should we move.

Consider A Home Monitoring SystemRemembering to turn the heat down can be a chore and, if your family is like mine, you will forget to do it far too often. Programming your lights and appliances – and being able to access those systems via a computer or smartphone – will save you dollars and increase your comfort.

If you are a Verizon FiOS  customer, check out the Verizon Home Monitoring and Control system. Home monitoring will allow you to constantly monitor and control your heating and cooling systems and program lights and appliances. Right now new customers can get a FREE Starter Kit and the service is just $9.99 per month. Getting started is easy – you’ll save a ton of money and your family will be a lot more comfortable!

Jean Parks, aka Geekbabe, is a contributing editor for The Online Mom. Follow Jean on Twitter.

(Disclaimer: The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional campaigns for Verizon FiOS. All posts reflect the independent opinions of The Online Mom contributing editors.)

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