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10 tips to stay warm, save energy this winter

During cold winter days, energy costs rise. To stay within your budget, follow these tips from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DOE) to save energy, reduce utility bills and keep safe.

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● Set thermostats low; use programmable thermostats. Turn down the temp 10 degrees when in bed or not at home.

● Weather strip and caulk windows/doors to eliminate air infiltration.

● Cover drafty windows with tightly sealed plastic to keep warm air in.

● Open curtains and blinds on south-facing windows to let the sun in to heat the home. Close at night to reduce chill from cold windows.

● Seal air leaks to prevent cold air infiltration around chimneys, vents, pipes, and wires.

● Close the fireplace damper when a fire is not in use and install airtight doors to prevent warm air escape. If the fireplace is no longer used, seal the flue with an inflatable plug.

● Maintain your heating system. Have furnaces or boilers inspected annually. Clean or replace filters regularly. For wood and pellet-burning heaters, clean flue vent and inside the appliance to improve efficiency.

● Turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees F.

● Take short showers with low-flow showerheads instead of baths to reduce hot water use.

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