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Winter time heating costs continue to rise every year. Natural disasters and the war in Iraq inflate the prices of home heating expenses, for electric, gas and oil furnaces. Be aware that there are steps that you can take to lower your bills and put a little cash back for other things, or just to brace for the next rise in energy costs for your home.

Look over these 10 tips and see what you can do to lower your bills by conserving energy in your home.

Insulate Windows. Go though your house and check your windows. Make sure they're well sealed. A good test is to do a smoke test. Turn off all fans and your furnace, stand close to a window and produce smoke. If there's a minute leak of interior home air to the outside the smoke will move in the direction toward the window. Kits can be bought at your local hardware or home improvement store for insulation.

Buy a Ceiling Fan. Because warm air rises you'll want to get the warmer air down low by buying a ceiling fan. Reversible switches come on most all models and can be used in summer time too. The relative cost of the ceiling fan and its usage costs are quickly made up in savings.

Shut Doors. If a room is not being used then shut the door and leave it closed. This is really useful if you're not using the room on a long term basis. Rooms that are used some of the time will have the door fanned and cold air will escape into the others rooms. Of course this will cause your furnace to work harder, and drive cost for heating up too.

Shut Curtains and Mini Blinds. If a wintry day is sunny or even if there is minimal sun, make sure you open them during the daylight hours, and shut them when dusk approaches. The warmth from the sun's rays will help warm the house, and keep it tapped for the night time. Re-open them when the sun is up the next morning.

Weather Proof Doors and Caulk Windows. Draft doggies aren't necessary around doors if they have been weather stripped. Look around the bottoms of doors, and if air is streaming in then weather proof it. Check windows too because wear and the age of windows can let in cold air too. Caulk and seal windows, and if interior of seal is damaged replace it with the correct seal type.

Realign Doors. Doors just like windows can with use over time begin to sag from their original tight fitting position. Before winter sets in go around and really look at how your door closes. Adjust them for a nice fitting.

Check Furnace. Hire a contractor in HVAC, heating, air venting and air conditioning, to give your furnace a once over to check for any inefficient or heating or cooling safety issues. A poorly running system can cost more dollars from you pocket, and safety issues are a priority for a home owner's peace of mind too.

Replace the Air Filter. You can eliminate unnecessary high cost bills by conserving energy by simply changing out a clogged air filter. Not only does it cause your system to run slowly, but the danger is it can get into the motor and cause a fire, or just burn up the motor itself.

Close House Vents. Right before the season of fall go around your house and shut up the vents that allow circulation of air during the summer time. In the winter the goal is to keep all cold air out. Cold air under the floor boards infiltrate the house and drive up heating cost.

Check Roof Top Insulation. If it's been a few years since you've checked out the insulation in your attic then go up and look around. Insulation should have enough air pockets to trap the cold air and push it back from the interior of the house. Old rotten insulation is usually brittle and flat. Replace the insulation with new and you'll see evidence of your energy conservation in your heating costs.

By implementing just a few of these tips you will see results happen. There are a lot more that you can do too. Go online and read other different ways to conserve energy. Talk with your local energy provider to see if there are tips for your area that will help lower your bills, and drive down costs for everyone. In the end you won't regret that you've used the tips at all

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