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8 Easy Ways You Can Lower Your Electric Bill This Winter

The leaves from the trees are mostly gone, and a noticeable chill permeates the air around the Midwest. While it’s still fall, we know that winter will be here soon enough, and when the temperatures plummet, you’re sure to see a climb in your electric bill.

But don’t panic! There are many great, easy ways you can save money on your electric bill this winter without having to sacrifice your comfort. Read the following 8 tips to help you save more money on your electric bill in the winter (and keep you warmer, too!).

Keep The Temperature Low – As tempting as it might seem to crank up the heat in the winter, try to keep your thermostat down by 2 degrees and cozy up in a blanket instead. You will save some money on your energy bill if you resist adjusting the thermostat. If all else fails, savor some hot chocolate to keep you toasty!

Fill Up the Dishwasher – Make sure that your dishwasher is full before turning it on. These days, dishwashers are more energy and water efficient when they are full. In fact, researchers have found that dishwashers do a consistently better job with less water than hand-washing, so load ‘em up!

Take Care of Your Fridge – Before winter comes, make sure you clean the dust off your refrigerator’s condenser coil to improve its efficiency. If you need a new fridge, look for one that has a more energy-efficient compressor, good insulation, and good temperature controls. These types of fridges offer energy savings that conventional models cannot.

A Clean Furnace is a Happy Furnace – Don’t forget about your winter workhorse – your furnace! Cleaning your furnace’s filter once every month can increase its efficiency drastically. You will also be able to enjoy cleaner air in your home.

Slay the Vampires – We’re not talking about Dracula – we mean your home electronics that suck out electricity when they’re not in use! Unplug your home electronics when you’re not using them to help you save some money on your energy bill. This especially includes computer and chargers, but you can also apply this to lamps and televisions if you like.

Use the Right Lights – Take the time to replace your home’s incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs. You’ll save energy with the lower wattage and reduce cooling costs as well!

Weatherproof Before Winter – Now is the perfect time to weatherproof your home before the full force of winter arrives. Make sure that you have enough insulation and that you caulk up any cracks to get rid of uncomfortable drafts. Weatherproofing your home will not only keep you warmer in the winter, but it can also save you some money on your heating bill!

Be Smart with Laundry – Everyone loves warm-and-fresh-out-of-the-dryer clothes, but you’ll need to be smarter when it comes to drying your clothes. Dry two or more loads of laundry in a row to take advantage of an already warm dryer, and be sure to remove them promptly to prevent wrinkling. Remember to clean the lint filter before every load – a clogged filter will not only increase your energy use, but it can also be a fire hazard!

Reviewing your home insurance plan can also be a very effective way to save money in the long haul. If you’d like to discuss your home insurance policy, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com for more information!

5 Ways to Get Your Furnace and Smoke Detectors Ready for Fall

Fall is here, and Daylight Saving Time will be ending very shortly – November 3rd at 2 a.m., to be precise! We’re sure that you’ve probably taken the time to decorate your home for the season and have probably made the proper changes in your wardrobe as well, but is your house ready for the season?

When the time comes to “fall back” and turn your clocks back one whole hour, there are a few things you will need to do to make sure your home is running at its top efficiency. Read on below to see the 5 things you need to do this fall to prepare yourself for the fall and winter seasons!

Change the Filter – The top reason that heating and cooling systems in homes fail is due to an unchanged filter. Some experts believe that filters should be changed once a month, but you’re probably better off inspecting it each month and switching it out every three months, that is, once every season.

Why should you do this? Not only will you help ensure that your system will run smoothly for the upcoming seasons, but you will also improve the air quality in your home, reduce the energy your furnace uses, and could even save a little extra money on your electric bill!

Take Care of Your Thermostat – During the fall season, be sure to clean your thermostat’s heat sensor, contacts, and contact points. Doing so will ensure that it’s running at its optimum efficiency. You can also try to save some money on your energy bill by keeping your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees during the day and a few degrees lower at night. If that’s too cold for you, you can always get into the fall spirit and cuddle up with your favorite blankets and sip some hot chocolate!

Check Your Smoke Detectors – When the clocks fall back on November 3rd, it’s a prudent idea to check your smoke detectors and switch out the batteries. If your detectors are 10 years or older, replace them and be sure to check that your fire extinguisher is still where it needs to be and functions properly.

Invest in a Carbon Monoxide Detector – You should already have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home, but if you don’t now is the time to invest in one! Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas and cannot be detected without a detector in the home. If you do purchase one, make sure to put it on the ceiling or above the doorframe of the room you spend most of your time in.

Turn Your Attention to Your Furnace – If you haven’t turned on your furnace at all this season, do so NOW to make sure that it’s working before the coldest weather descends. You should smell a strong, odd odor for a short time, but if it lasts for a long time, shut it down and call us right away. Remember to get your furnace cleaned and tuned annually and to change out the filters monthly to keep your furnace running smoothly and the air you breathe clean!

Before the colder temperatures sink in and stay until springtime, feel free to come in to our office to look over your home insurance policy with us. We can go over your policy and let you know if it needs to be updated in any manner to give you optimal protection! Stop in anytime, call us at 1-800-766-MMIC, or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com for more information!