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Cost-Cutting Tricks Help Families Survive Shorter Winter Days

Over the next few months, the lack of light and colder temperatures can send your utility bills through the roof. Families are embracing a sunny trend called “Daylighting,” — and it’s leading to smaller energy bills and bigger smiles.

Daylighting is the use of windows and skylights to bring sunlight into a building. Natural light fuels energy and positivity in a home or office, and it’s needed most when the days get shorter! In addition to good vibes, daylighting leads to energy savings. Basically, natural light makes homeowners happy all around!

Here are six easy ways homeowners can cut down the costs of their energy bills:

Design with Daylight

The sun’s stint is shorter during winter days, so you want to soak up as much sunlight as you can — even when you’re inside!

South-facing windows allow most winter sunlight into the home.

North-facing windows bring in relatively even amounts of natural light.

East- and west-facing windows are bright sources of light during either the morning or afternoon, but they don’t contribute much to solar heating.

Energy-Efficient Lighting is a Bright Idea

It’s possible to have that warm, sunny glow inside your home, day or night, and not break the bank. Choose bulbs that LED — they are the most energy-efficient lighting source available. Consider using timers or dimmers that will save electricity by turning off lights automatically or offering lower light levels. Get into the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room.

Win Big with Window Coverings

Soak up as much sun as possible by keeping thermal drapes open on south-facing windows during the day and closing them at night. Open your blinds and curtains when the sun is at its brightest, but be sure to close window coverings when the sun is in hiding. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, when drawn during cold weather, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10 percent.

Do a Double- (or Triple-) Take with Your Windows

Consider installing double- or triple-pane windows that have a high-performance glass. The air, or in some cases gas, in between the windowpanes acts as an extra layer of insulation.

Look Out for Air Leaks

Check for air leaks around windows, doors, and pipes. Many of these areas can be filled with caulk or special coverings. Additionally, ensure weatherstripping around windows and doors is in good condition and isn’t frayed or worn down. You can tell if there’s an air leak around your windows by holding your hand close to the edges and determining if there’s a draft, or if you see sunlight coming through the edges.

Get with the (Temperature) Program

Install a programmable thermostat to keep temperatures from getting too hot or cold when you’re not at home. It may be tempting to crank up the heat as the days get cooler, but the lower the temperature is inside a house, the slower the heat loss.

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