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Tips to avoid high heat bills

Wednesday - 11/13/2013, 5:18am  ET

WASHINGTON - No doubt about it, the cold weather has arrived. So it's time to tune up your house to avoid high heating bills.

The experts at Bankrate.com have some tips for lowering your heating bills this season.

  • Open the blinds and curtains on south-facing windows in your home during the day to allow the sun to warm up rooms.

  • Adding insulation to your attic and crawl space can be pricey, but over time you'll save more in heating bills than you spend on insulation.

  • If you haven't already invested in a programmable thermostat, now is a great time. An online check of the big-box home improvement stores turned up several of these hi-tech thermostats that were priced at or below $20.

  • You can warm up a room by simply reversing your ceiling fan so it runs clockwise. That way, you'll pull cooler air toward the ceiling and push warm air down toward the floor.

  • Add caulk and weather stripping around your windows and doors. The cost is minimal but you'll probably have to spend some time to get it all done.

  • Move your furniture away from exterior walls and windows. Who wants to sit in a cold chair?

  • Pay attention to your heaters. Change the furnace filter once a month to keep warm air moving. And cover up your water heater in an insulation jacket so it doesn't have to work so hard. Big hardware stores sell them for about $20.

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