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Tips for reducing winter energy bills

During the winter, home heating is responsible for 40% to 60% of the charges on a monthly energy bill.

The natural gas company Avista is offering tips to reduce energy use and cut heating costs.

? Install multi-use window plastic and rope caulk to keep cold air out and warm air in. Both items can be found at local hardware stores for as low $3 and are easy to install, requiring no additional tools or hardware. The items are also easy to remove, making them excellent weatherization options for renters or for those in temporary housing situations.

? Add door sweeps and weather stripping around exterior doors to help stop cold air drafts.

? Close the damper on a fireplace when it’s not in use. This simple step can prevent 25% of the heat in a home from escaping out the chimney.

? Install energy-efficient LED lights to use up to 80% less electricity while producing the same amount of light as older incandescent or compact fluorescent lightbulbs. This is especially effective during the winter as daylight decreases and relying on natural sun light to keep home interiors lit becomes difficult.

? Set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you are home and reduce it a few degrees at night and when you are away.

? Use space heaters only in small, occupied areas for short periods of time and don’t use them as a main source of heating. They can be more costly to operate than other heat sources.

For more information and tips on how cold weather impacts Avista bills, as well as video demonstrations on low-cost, easy-to-use weatherization items, see myavista.com/winterbill.

Adjusting the thermostat can help to lower winter energy bills. (123rf.com)