LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Winter is dark, cold, and expensive, at least where heating a home is concerned.
On this Consumer Tuesday, here are a few ways to ways to save winter heating bills from Yahoo! Homes.
1. Energy audits - Your electric company will help you determine a pattern of usage to help you find ways of improving how you use energy.
2. Air leaks - Drafty windows, doors, and attics will allow air to come in and heat to sneak out. Check the weather stripping around your windows and doors and replace if worn. Next check any unfinished attic space. By sealing air leaks, you can see about 30 percent in energy savings.
3. Thermostat - Keeping the house at 75 degrees may be comfortable, but it can be expensive. The lower the setting, the more savings you'll see. An average of 68 degrees is the lowest comfortable setting during the day which can get you 6.2 percent savings. For every degree above that, costs will go up.
4. Proper insulation - This is probably the most important way to keep you home warm this winter. Make sure you have proper insulation in both your attic and between the inside walls. Heat losses can add close to 30 percent to your energy bill too.
5. Fireplaces - This is a great source of heat and can warm a room quickly. But, a fireplace damper left open when not in use can let warm air escape and cold air to come in. Close after each use and more importantly, open before using your fireplace.
6. Air vents or radiators - These may not be the most attractive items in your home, but covering them with furniture or other things can make them work harder or not at all. You want the airflow to move freely throughout the space. Want to cover them easily? You can paint them the same color as the wall or floor.
7. Ceiling fans - High ceilings are great, but it can trap warm air as it rises. If you have a ceiling fan, change the direction of the blades where it pushes air downward by reversing the flow of the fan. This will help you heat a room more evenly.
8. Window treatments - Not only do window treatments add a decorative aspect to a room, they can help control the temperature of a home. Opening curtains or shades can let a natural heat source, the sun, into the room. At night, close the curtains to help insulate a room.
9. Space heaters - These may seem convenient, but they pose a serious threat. First, they are expensive to run no matter what type it is. Electrical ones run up your bill and kerosene can be costly. Also they are dangerous. All it would take is someone knocking it over to start a fire or cause personal injury. It's not worth the risk.
10. Area rugs - Rugs help trap cool air underneath it, preventing it from seeping up and cooling the room. The rug will also keep your feet warm.