Save Energy and Money with a Few Easy Changes

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Despite recent warm temperatures, Iowa has had its fair share of cold days, which often leads people to spend more money on heating their homes.

NBC's Jeff Rossen talked to home improvement expert Amy Matthews to find out some ways to save money in cold weather.

Matthews says a lot of heat is lost around windows and doors, so sealing any openings is a good start to conserving warmth. By putting weather stripping along the edges of these surfaces, more heat will stay in and the cold will stay out. Matthews also says this can save approximately 10% on heating bills.

Turning down the heat when nobody's home is another good way to save money.

"For every one degree, you're saving 1% on your heating bill," says Matthews.

Closing the ducts to areas you don't spend much time will allow heat to travel to areas you use instead of spreading to unnecessary spaces.

You may have heard the tip about changing the direction your ceiling fan spins during different seasons, but did you know it could be a good way to save some money? Setting the fan counter-clockwise in the summer creates a breeze that can cool you off, and setting it clockwise in the winter will push warm air down the sides of the room.

"You get no breeze and you stay comfy," says Matthews.

The biggest savings of all has to do with water.

Turning down the hot water heater temperature can reduce bills quite a bit. Matthews and Rossen talked to one family whose water heater was set at 140 degrees, and even turning it down to 120 degrees would save 11% on their next bill. This is still a pretty warm temperature, but low enough to reduce the cost.

Taking shorter showers and being conscious of water consumption is another good practice to save some money.

Want to make sure you're being as cost effective as possible? Have a qualified expert come to your home for an energy audit. They'll be able to tell you exactly how much energy you are using and where the biggest issues are to help you save in the future.

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